Summary: Cam used to have a close relationship with her daughter, Aubrey. But ever since she started dating Tyler, Aubrey doesn’t seem very interested in anything anymore. Namely, college – something Cam has worked very hard to make happen for her daughter.
Once in awhile I am lucky enough to read a book I cannot stop thinking about. I want to send carrier pigeons and take out an ad on TV just to inform people of its pure genius. After reading over 90 books so far this year, The Gap Year easily fits in my Top 5 of 2011.
First, writing style – Bird alternates chapters between Mom (Cam) at present day and daughter (Aubrey) exactly a year before. The imagery is crisp and the sentence structure flows perfectly in its simplicity. (While this book is description heavy — something I normally don’t love, it is engrossing here.)
Second, the mystery of how these two stories will end remains until the very end. It doesn’t seem like the kind of book that would remain predictable for so long but Bird has carefully created these characters and their histories so much that the drive to discover them is always existent.
Mother and daughter relationships are never easy, and to watch Cam obsess over the navigation of her daughter’s life – and for Aubrey to have some major life epiphany during her senior year of high school – is completely intense. From start to finish. As a reader, I could relate to both on many levels and at the same time I was frustrated by their actions.
And regret. Many write it. It can easily fall into the realm of cliché. But both of these women (and the other characters we meet throughout the course of the novel) have their own unique responses to it. That’s what makes The Gap Year so real: Bird is able to take the complexities of this trying year in this particular household and consistently express them in such a down-to-earth manner.
Easily a favorite for life, I’m looking forward to reading more of Bird’s work, as well as urging everyone I pass on the street to pick it up n o w!