The Last Bridge

I used to hate reading sad books.  Anything that dealt with unpleasant subject matters, I avoided like the plague.  (I especially would have avoided books about the plague.)  But as I grew up, I found that I can enjoy reading as a cathartic experience, as well as a joyful one.  Taking a journey of redemption with a character can sometimes be even more fulfilling than joining a protagonist on a fun and frills adventure.  Life is not all smiles and sunshine.  One can either embrace reading as an escape and feel that if life is unpleasant, reading doesn't have to be; or take the option that if there is ugliness in life, than the world of literature should occasionally reflect that too.  For those that are willing to walk a difficult road with a fictional character, Teri Coyne's The Last Bridge is a great one to check out. 

After ten years of running from her past, Alex "Cat" Rucker returns to her Ohio hometown to deal with the aftermath of her mother's suicide. In a cryptic suicide note, Cat's mother writes only "He isn't who you think he is..." leading Cat on a tumultuous path to wonder who her mother was referring to. Is it Cat's abusive father? Jared, the brother from whom Cat's grown distant? Andrew, the overly friendly county coroner? Or perhaps Addison, Cat's first love? With questions and suspicions driving Cat towards her usual solace at the bottom of a bottle, the story unfolds in present and in the memories of Cat's childhood creating a captivating work.

I'm always a bit hesitant to read stories that deal with themes of alcoholism, broken homes or child abuse, but Teri Coyne weaves a powerful and engrossing story in The Last Bridge. The subject matter was difficult to face but the story is not without a ray of light. Coyne shows that choices are ultimately the definition of character and Cat's journey is one that will stay with the reader even after the book is read.
Occasionally, I find if I read too many books on depressing subjects in a row it really dampens my mood, but I also appreciate a variety of reading topics and like to mix in some more intense subjects with lighter fare.  So of course, this leads to the question, do you read sad books? Do you enjoy catharsis as a part of reading or do you tend to stick with pleasant subjects?

6 Response to "The Last Bridge"

  1. Steve Finnell says:
    August 3, 2010 at 7:18 AM

    you are invited to follow my blog

  2. biblioholic29 says:
    August 3, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    I'll read sad books, especially if I'm already feeling down and I need a good cry. I do love a good catharsis!

  3. Bailey says:
    August 4, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    It's funny, I recently read and reviewed Crow Lake by Mary Lawson, which prompted me to ask the exact question on my blog (to no avail since no one participated in discussion lol). I like to say that I don't like sad books, but I still end up reading and often enjoying them!

    And, you've received the Versatile Blogger award from The Window Seat Reader - no obligation to pass on :) Check it out if you get a chance!

  4. lisa :) says:
    August 5, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    bib - I don't mind crying at books, I just have to make sure I don't read the weepy parts in public!

    Bailey - I left a note on your blog too, thanks so much for the award! Funny thing is, someone else passed it on to me and you were/are one of the blogs I was awarding it to also! (I have the message scheduled - it should post later today!) And I haven't read Crow Lake, but I'll have to check out your review!

  5. Stephany says:
    August 5, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    I enjoyed reading about this book! To answer your question, yes, I do read sad books. Do I enjoy them? Well, yeah.. I mean, to a certain extent. I don't read sad books on purpose, or purposely go looking for sad books, but if one catches my eye/attention, I will definitely read it. Kind of like how your review and this book caught my attention. I will def add this to my t-b-r list!

  6. lisa :) says:
    August 24, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    I just found out that Teri Coyne quoted my review and linked to this post off her website!! Check it out: http://www.tericoyne.com/index.php

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