Wow! If you are to read one book this summer this should be it! Long Division: A Novel by Jane Berentson was truly one of the funniest books I have ever read. One of those laugh out loud books! As we follow the life of Annie Harper we are not only amused but also enthused. This charismatic intoxicating individual has bequeathed herself with the task of tracking and documenting her life sans major hottie and boyfriend Lieutenant David Peterson- as he is in Afghanistan for a year.
Alone in Tacoma, WA, Annie’s thoughts race and quickly change. Slightly obsessively she reads the New York Times Names of the Dead fretting about her boyfriend constantly. She is neurotic and slightly delusional at times. Yet I love her! In order to distract herself from the monotony of life sans her Army hunk she begins a book to describe her life and experiences. In her charge to herself Annie attempts to push herself to describe everything even her most deranged thoughts.
You must write to provoke, elicit, and understand your deepest emotions. To coax them out and paint them plain and ugly. Sweet and/or bitter. In documenting how you pass into this year, you will hopefully come to understand something more profound about yourself, David Peterson, Lonesome George, George W. Bush, and maybe (if you’re lucky) the entire universe.
As we continue her memoir we follow Annie through the many trials and tribulations that direct her life. Annie begins to want more than obsessively writing and long for David. But what? Anne has greater endeavors; we follow her as she volunteers at a nursing home, raises a chicken, reminisces about a lost brother-she never knew, and falls out and in love. Struggling to come to terms with her emotions and feelings our hearts beat and fluxuates with Annie’s. Her truest companion is Loretta- a 93 year old woman- from the nursing home. Loretta is her confidant and sounding board.
This novel is way more than every other wartime love story. It is a story of the heart and hope, a truest test of love and faith. With space in Annie and David’s relationship they change and grow without each other. This novel is immersed with love and growth; weighing the issues about “loyalty vs. real gut wrenching love”. Annie is a quirky, eccentric young woman determined to not succumb to the Army life. We feel and read every thought with her. Annie copes with so many things over the year that we can only hope for her, for changes, continued growth, and laughter.
Jane Berentson has truly written a loving, funny, and inspiring novel. The character of Annie is relatable and loveable. Her dialogue is intriguing and engaging. Not only is the plot charming, the characters may have different names but we all have been involved in a situation like this. A unique fact about this novel is the appendices which describe each character in detail, as well as many footnotes which describe her thoughts. Berentson’s prose is appealing to the reader; you are roped in with every word. Not only is she able to present dialogue but she diversifies her prose to include emails, phone calls, chicken talk, and so much more. Overall this novel should not be missed at all. I wholeheartedly recommend Long Division: A Novel by Jane Berentson.
The book is available at Amazon
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