Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Review: This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith (audio)

Title: This Close to Okay
Author: Leesa Cross-Smith
Narrator: Kamali Minter, Zeno Robinson
Published: February 2021, Hachette Audio / Grand Central Publishing
Length: 9 hours 46 minutes / 320 pages
Source: Audio - ALC via Libro.fm / Print - Hardcover via Grand Central Publishing

From the award-winning Southern writer who Roxane Gay calls "a consummate storyteller" comes a cathartic novel about the life-changing weekend shared between two strangers: a therapist and the man she prevents from ending his life.

On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing on the side of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett.

Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. But what she doesn't realize is that he's not the only one who needs healing -- and she's not the only one with secrets.

Alternating between Tallie and Emmett's perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge's edge -- as well as the hard truths Tallie has been grappling with in her own life -- This Close to Okay is a vibrant, powerful story of two strangers brought together by wild chance at the moment they needed each other most.


My thoughts:  As weird as this might sound, considering this book starts off with a potential suicide - not a spoiler as it happens right in the beginning of the book and is mentioned in the synopsis - I absolutely loved this book. This is the first book I've read by Leesa Cross-Smith and I am a fan...the writing is just beautiful and I will absolutely be getting her others books to read soon!

I loved how this book pulled me in right away. I could totally relate to Tallie - I loved just how empathic she is and how she wanted to fix everyone and everything. My husband accuses me of being too empathetic at times, but I don't always see that as a bad thing and I could probably see myself doing what Tallie did if I were ever in her position.

I loved getting to know Tallie and Emmett. The book switches back and forth between the two view points and while the two are complete opposites, it's clear that they definitely are looking for something similar at that moment when they meet. 

This book is probably not going to be for everyone. It does deal with suicide and the aftermath but it also is so much more than that. It's about what happens when everything you thought you ever wanted is no longer an option...what do you do next? How do you move on; how do you let go? This book takes you on an emotional roller coaster and it heartbreaking yet also heartwarming. I fell in love with these characters and know that I will be thinking of them for a long time to come.

Audio thoughts: I absolutely loved this audio. Despite the heaviness of the story at times, I thought both narrators, Kamali Minter and Zeno Robinson, did a phenomenal job bringing the story to life. They each did such a great job with their respective parts and really made this a stellar audio book.  Both narrators were new to me and I will definitely be looking to see what else they narrate as I would love to listen to them again!


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