Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Alice's Review: Somewhere Over the Sun

Somewhere Over the SunSummary:  Alan, a spirited young writer with a wandering imagination has discovered that the stories he writes are suddenly coming to life. At the suggestion of his loving father, Alan embarks on a quixotic journey to visit friends and use his new found gift to write them all happier lives. There are a few limitations to his power; he can't cure diseases, he can't summon pots of gold, and headaches accompany each reality-infused story he lives out, but the appreciative and optimistic Alan is not deterred from creating fantastical characters and storylines to give his friends more literary lives.

Review:  Here is the first thing you need to know about this book: When you purchase it (and you will purchase it), make sure you buy a highlighter. This is the kind of book that begs to be read with a highlighter, or better yet a notebook and pen so you can jot down your thoughts. This kind of book draws you in, makes you sit in that comfy chair, it'll make you want to stay up at night reading. It will.

Here is the next thing you need to know: I am a crier in real life and during certain movies and/or TV shows but I can count on one hand how many books have moved me to genuine heart wrenching tears. This book is that kind of book. This novel is crazy good. It’s malted milkshake good. It’s little kid laughter good. Think of something you love that is so good it hits you in that stop under your ribcage right below your heart. Yeah, Somewhere Over the Sun is that good.

The novel tells the story of Alan as he travels across North America visiting friends while writing a novel. Alan is unlike anyone else, he has a gift. His gift is that what he writes comes true. He decides to write happy endings into each of his friend’s lives. I kept wishing I had Alan's gift. Although truth be told, I'd probably use it more for evil than good.

This novel is full of surprises. If you have ever dreamed of writing a novel, read this book. He gives such great advice about having a relationship with the reader. If you have ever loved and lost, again and again, (and come on, who hasn’t?) read this book. If you have ever experienced the love for a child or for a parent, read this book. If you like whimsical, if you believe in hope, if you need to be taught optimism, if you need to laugh, if you need a good cry. These are all solid reasons to read this.

Although mainly told by Alan, most of the characters we meet narrate the novel. Mr. Alsaid beautifully tells the story from each characters’ point of view all the while having no idea what the others are thinking. It's magical actually. Knowing this I caught myself clenching my fists and biting my lip because I want to yell at the book, at the characters to give them a clue. I loved the anticipation waiting to see if they would figure it out for themselves. It's like missed opportunities, they are right in front of you but you don't see them. I also loved the relationship Alan has with his family and friends. I love he thought Jesse was born to be loved and won't be complete until someone falls in love with him. Mr. Alsaid brings life to everything Alan encounters, whether it is a bench or a tomato or a dress and shirt for the greatest sex scene ever written.

Mr. Alsaid is insanely good with words. There were so many morsels of goodness in this story.

I love how after laminating over a child’s ability to fall in love, Alan says "If youth is wasted on the young, love is wasted on the old."

I love how he describes love's rejections as "they hit like snowballs. The idea they could hurt was almost silly, but the next day, I'd wake up with bruises all over."

I love how he describes different readers. I'm happy to say I'm a Greg.

I love how M, describing Danielle, says "that the ability to smile at your own sadness was a sign of elegance that he wasn't sure he possessed." I also loved that about Alan he says that "I wanted to tell him that he saw the world in a beautiful way and that if everyone had his point of view, the world would surely be filled with more pleasant people."
Most of all, I love what Robert says about his son Alan's optimism: "Few people can look at raining clouds and see the blue sky that's always above them."

This novel is full of raw vulnerability. It was beautiful to read. I was attached to Alan from the first sentence and my love for him kept growing. I will admit that I suspected the twist in the novel and at the end I saw that I was right. That didn't stop the tears from flowing and even then that didn't diminish the emotion I felt reading it.

Now stop reading this and go buy this book. And don't forget your highlighter.

Final Take: 5/5

Stop by tomorrow for our interview with Mr.Alsaid.

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