Review: You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

From Hicklebee’s: Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.

Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the “No Good.” One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever. . . .

The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.

I just finished reading this book about twenty minutes ago. This is an odd time of day to write and publish a review, everyone has gone home for the day doing their own thing and maybe only a few will read this, and then the rest will come tomorrow. Once every so often a book resonates with you in a way that you really can’t explain. You want to shout it from the rooftops but what exactly would you say?

I am having the same trouble here. How do I tell in you a coherent way just how powerful this book is? Why you should read it when there are thousands of other books to choose from. How do I tell you that I cried tears; but they weren’t of despair and they weren’t borne of hope?

The story is shortish, 240 pages to be exact, like most Kephart books. I am in awe of how Beth can jam-pack such a small package with such power and meaning. The story is told from alternating points of view. Sophie who is fourteen, and Emmy whose baby was stolen.

Reading You Are My Only is like reading two diaries at the same time. The information is so provoking and so intimate you almost feel a bit shady for reading. Sophie tells you her hopes and dreams, she tells you the situation with her ‘Mother’. She tells you how she feels about the boy next door and his dog, though she isn’t allowed to play with him because she has to stay inside away from the No Good.

Emmy tells you about the day her baby was stolen and one yellow sock was left behind. The way her husband treated her after, how she almost died that same night looking for her but was rescued by a nice man named Arlen. Emmy tells you what happens when they say she is crazy and is locked up in a mental institution and about the friends she makes there; her ever present desire to find her baby.

The conclusion is bittersweet, and heartbreaking, and hopeful. It is everything I would have every wanted it to be. The side characters are amazingly fleshed out for such a short book and the prose so beautiful your teeth feel a twinge.

If you ever do one thing that I say (and you should do all the things I say) let it be reading this book. I promise you from the very bottom of my jaded heart that it will invoke feeling and oh, how I wish for you to feel this too.

You Are My Only publishes on October 25th. Please consider a online preorder from my local indie. They ship world wide.

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