The adult debut from bestselling, award-winning young adult author Jaclyn Moriarty—a frequently hilarious, brilliantly observed novel—that follows a single mother’s heartfelt search for greater truths about the universe, her family and herself.
Twenty years ago, Abigail Sorenson’s brother Robert went missing one day before her sixteenth birthday, never to be seen again. That same year, she began receiving scattered chapters in the mail of a self-help manual, the Guidebook, whose anonymous author promised to make her life soar to heights beyond her wildest dreams.
The Guidebook’s missives have remained a constant in Abi’s life—a befuddling yet oddly comforting voice through her family’s grief over her brother’s disappearance, a move across continents, the devastating dissolution of her marriage, and the new beginning as a single mother and café owner in Sydney.
Now, two decades after receiving those first pages, Abi is invited to an all-expenses paid weekend retreat to learn “the truth” about the Guidebook. It’s an opportunity too intriguing to refuse. If Everything is Connected, then surely the twin mysteries of the Guidebook and a missing brother must be linked?
What follows is completely the opposite of what Abi expected––but it will lead her on a journey of discovery that will change her life––and enchant readers. Gravity Is the Thing is a smart, unusual, wickedly funny novel about the search for happiness that will break your heart into a million pieces and put it back together, bigger and better than before.
It took me a while to get into this book. There’s a lot of self-discovery and looking inwards and truth-seeking that I hate to admit that I found a bit tedious. It’s all rather flowery and overlong at times. I sometimes wished it would just get on with the story. Maybe if I had more time to savour the beauty of the words I would have enjoyed the first half more.
Abigail is a lovely character, though at times you wish she would stop blaming herself for everything that has gone wrong in her life. Such as the disappearance of her brother Robert after his MS diagnosis and the devastating breakup of her marriage (he was a selfish idiot). Then she gets an invitation to a retreat to learn the truth about the Guidebook she received as a teenager.
Intrigued but sceptical, she goes along and meets a variety of wonderful (and not so wonderful) people. Together they will embark on a journey that will change all their lives.
About two-thirds of the way through I really began to love and enjoy the story. There’s still a little too much musing and not enough action for me, but it was starting to grip me now and I couldn’t wait for the next stave (reading with online book club the Pigeonhole you get one ‘stave’ a day for ten days). I had to find out what happened to Robert. We all did.
I nearly forget about Oscar. He’s Abi’s four year old son. The star of the show. He’s adorable and hilarious. Some of the things he says reminded my of my four-year old granddaughter Holly and did make me laugh. Everywhere he and Abi go he has to take ‘everyone’ with them – everyone being not teddies or Action Man (that dates me) type toys, but bits of plastic with no human attributes and then play goodies and baddies with them. Now at this point I have to admit that when I was a child I had to take some of my teddies to the cinema or café and I would line them up on the spare seats in pairs. There’s something you don’t admit to every day!
And then there’s Wilbur. We all love Wilbur but you’ll have to read the book to understand why.
PS I nearly forgot to say I cried towards the end. Well probably for most of the last part. But in a good way.
Many thanks to The Pigeonhole and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.
About the Author
Jaclyn Moriarty is an Australian writer of young adult literature.
She studied English at the University of Sydney, and law at Yale University and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD.