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Mary’s Pick of the Week: Interesting Facts About Space by Emily Austin

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“Sometimes I think I have a parasite.  I feel like there is a creature crawling inside me, trying to migrate to my brain.  I picture him like Plankton from SpongeBob SquarePants; a malevolent little mastermind who is trying to use my body like a Trojan horse.  I worry that I am a shell for something bad.  That deep down, in the spot where most people keep their souls, I keep a weird little bug.  I picture him there, leaning on the apple core of my soul, crunching on what remains of what’s good of me.”

Emily Austin, Interesting Facts About Space, pg. 41-42

 

So the above paragraph is a bit creepy, but once you get used to the voice of our main character, believe it or not, you’ll find it funny and oddly charming.  Enid has a very difficult time with relationships.  She’s disarmingly endearing to many, but getting too close to anyone sends her anxiety levels soaring.  By the time we meet her she’s finally met her adult half-sisters who’d love to get to know her better, alarming her to no end.  The half-sisters are a product of her late father’s second marriage  Rather than stress her mother out, who still grieves the divorce and her deceased ex, Enid redirects and opts instead to regale her mother with amazing but true facts about our solar system and beyond.  Space facts and true-crime podcasts keep her from addressing the uncomfortable truths in her life.  Romantic interests are handled with the same techniques, as Enid prefers to keep her entanglements physical and on the surface.  That is, until she meets Polly.  As their relationship develops, Enid’s insecurities mount to the point where she’s nearly incapacitated.

 

While Enid is a wholly unique character, Austin makes her anxiety relatable, reminding readers that our flaws and quirks are an important part of what makes us human.  She’s offbeat and unpredictable in all the best ways, and when a mysterious person is caught on camera breaking into her house, it sends Enid into a tailspin and forces her to confront long-forgotten memories that led her to this place of doubt and self-loathing.  Prepare to laugh out loud and be moved by this special book.

 

Readers who’ve enjoyed Susan Mallery’s The Happiness Plan and Morgan Rogers’ Honey Girl will not be disappointed.

Categories: Books and More

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