When water follows the path of least resistance, it doesn’t mean it is the right path, or perceived as the correct path.
Eva Kenier’s fairytale childhood in the 60’s and 70’s starts out as a sheltered babbling brook that flows into turbulent rapids, whitewater, and falls. Sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll of the 80’s and 90’s lurk around every corner, but do not get the better of her.
Through fortitude and acuity, she surfaces within a mirrored pool of calm and warmth; no more egg shells to walk on; no more fear she will disappoint, her guard is down. As she peers into her reflection, she must own, love, and value what she sees.
The ride she is on, while under anesthesia, covers living in eight states, attending six colleges, sustaining 192 stitches from injuries, and undergoing five surgeries– including the one she is having at the moment.
Will her journey continue?
I struggled rating this book. Typically after finishing a book, I am able to select a rating fairly quickly and decisively. And I never give half stars. All of that changed with A Long Legged Life.
“The last second you cannot change, and the future second you cannot accurately predict; but you can make this one – this very second – really count.”
Inspired by true events, this story begins with Eva Kenier undergoing a cancer removal surgery, and as she goes under anesthesia, dreams about her life from a young age to the present day. The first few chapters took me a while to get into, but I found the concept intriguing and unlike anything else I’ve read, and was curious to see how Reber would deal with it.
The majority of this story is Eva dreaming about her past, and is very much string of consciousness. There is a lot of description with only some dialogue peppered in. While this makes sense, it is difficult to pull off a story written this way. (Almost akin to the movie Castaway in the sense that it’s hard to pull off a movie where the bulk of the story focuses on just one character.) Especially given the fact that this is Reber’s debut novel, I thought it was an extremely solid effort on her part.
Eva is a fully developed, well rounded, and complex character. I was able to relate to her on some things, and at other times I wanted to reach into the book, shake her and say, “Stop making bad decisions!” And though she made plenty of poor choices, she learned from them. I enjoyed seeing her journey from a young girl through adolescence and maturing into adulthood, learning how to live her life in the best way possible.
To be honest, if I was going to rate this purely objectively, it would have been a 3. There were some tense issues (most likely because of the stream of consciousness style used) and I noticed a fair bit of typos (which I am assuming is because I read an ARC and will be fixed for the final copy). But I found I simply couldn’t rate this purely objectively. It hit too many emotions for me. There was a dry humor that had me giggling out loud, and sections of sadness where I found tears pouring down my cheeks. I was invested in Eva’s story.
Ultimately, this is a 3.5 rounded up to a 4 for me, and I look forward to seeing what Reber does in her next book, A Leg Up, which is to be a companion novel to this one. The type of storytelling won’t be for everyone, but I encourage readers who like character driven stories to give this a fair chance. Available on kindle for $2.99 now.
*Thanks to the author for providing an arc of this edition in exchange for an honest review.