Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blue Straggler by Kathy Lynn Harris

3 Star
A blue straggler is a star that has an anomalous blue color and appears to be disconnected from those stars that surround it. But this is not a story about astronomy.

Bailey Miller is “disconnected” from the cluster of her rural south Texas family. She has never quite fit in and now in her early 30s, she finds herself struggling with inner turmoil and a series of bad choices in her life.

Bailey’s drinking too much (even for a member of her family), has a penchant to eat spoonfuls of Cool Whip, works in a job that bores her beyond description and can’t keep a relationship longer than it takes for milk to expire in her fridge. Even with the help of her two outspoken friends, Texas gal Idamarie and her quirky college pal Rudy, she’s having a hard time.

So she packs up her Honda and heads out of Texas in search of herself and answers to secrets from her great-grandmother’s past. The novel takes readers on a journey from San Antonio, Texas, to a small mountain town in Colorado and back again, as Bailey uncovers not only the secrets of her great-grandmother’s life, but also some painful secrets of her own. All while finding love along the way.

Kaley - 3 Star

Blue Straggler by Kathy Lynn Harris was a novel that I struggled with initially but its conclusion, which I was quite happy with, helped me enjoy the book a little more.

My first impression of Bailey? She is totally screwed up. I found myself desperately hoping that she would sort herself out because I really would not have enjoyed the novel otherwise.  Happily, she had a moment or two of clarity and really began to work on herself and all ended well. At least, I thought it ended well – many others may find that they wanted another ending. Personally, I think Harris made the right choice for Bailey in the end and I was content with how her story ended up.

Bailey is trying to make some sense of her life and her journey of self discovery had her travel from Texas to Colorado. While I cannot understand exactly why she needed to go to Colorado (it was quite the personal reason, I thought, being drawn to an area where a little discussed ancestor ran away to), I knew it was something she needed to do. Everyone else in her life seemed to think it was completely ridiculous but I could tell that she just had to do it. I think part of that may be because the book was written in the first person. I was privy to all of Bailey’s thoughts and I think that helped me better understand her motivation.

There was just something about Blue Straggler that didn’t quite sit well with me which is why I only gave it three stars. Perhaps it was the fact that Bailey was quite the dysfunctional character, even though I ended up feeling drawn to her by the end of the novel.  Who knows. I have to say that there is something to admire about her and that helped me enjoy the book a little more. She was unhappy with her life so she decided to pick up and go find what she thinks she’s missing. It turns out she finds an awful lot – a man, a small town with all the charm that comes with it, and, most importantly, herself. 

Thank you to 30 Day Books for our review copy!

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