Even If the Sky Falls Down by Susan Jackson Bybee
3 words: lively, interconnected, vivid
Our Bybee** wrote a book, guys, and reading it was one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had all year.
It’s pretty darn thrilling when someone you know (even if you haven’t actually met the person) writes a book—and you love the book.
It made me slow down and savor it.
And while the voice of the book was clearly that of Lily, the narrator, I could sense the sprightliness of Bybee’s style—that quality that makes her writing such a pleasure to read.
The story: Lily is an American teaching kindergarten in South Korea, whose injured ankle sends her down a path toward an entirely different job.
From the beginning of the book, brief character sketches interweave with Lily’s narrative. These vibrant vignettes are the oral histories of older people in South Korea, many of whom have endured great hardships. They read like tiny short stories, and they pack a punch. I know several of them will stay with me for a long time.
As Lily’s story progresses, the character sketches link in to her narrative, and the storylines all merge in a very satisfying way.
I love a story that takes me to a new place and introduces me to people I’d recognize if I ran across them out in the world. Add a lively first person narrative, and I’m hooked.
The good news is also this: Even when you’re done reading the book, you can visit Bybee at Blue-Hearted Bookworm to hear that delightful voice saying things that are smart and funny and unexpected and comforting and delightful.
*my eReader of choice these days
**claiming her as one of our book-blogging tribe