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Close Enough to Touch Paperback – 6 Jul 2017
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I absolutely devoured this novel, which took me from laughter to tears in the turn of a page. From its brilliant premise to its wonderful ending, it was gripping, romantic and thought-provoking as it showed how two people can fall for each other without ever being able to hold each other's hand. I absolutely loved it. - Katie Marsh author of A LIFE WITHOUT YOU
A touching and often comedic tale of fitting in. - Prima
One of the most thought-provoking love stories of the year - Real Simple
Oakley's sophomore novel is a treat... Fans of Jojo Moyes and rom-coms set within the stacks of libraries will rejoice. - Booklist
It is easy to get lost in this vividly told story with characters and a fictional malady that are utterly believable. Oakley's second novel should build on the author's popularity and continue comparisons to popular authors such as Jojo Moyes. - Library Journal
Oakley masterfully creates a high-stakes story that still feels solidly real. All of her characters are well-rounded and charming, especially Jubilee. Readers will cheer each time she takes a risk and delight in her triumphs. A romantic, sweet story about taking chances and living life fully. - Kirkus Reviews
It's so rare these days to find an utterly original heroine like Jubilee - one who is bravely living an almost unimaginable life. Gripping, raw, and moving, this is one of my favourite novels of the year. - Sarah Pekkanen, bestselling author of SKIPPING A BEAT and THE OPPOSITE OF ME
A witty, inventive, and bittersweet story of a reclusive young woman forced to venture into the world where complex medical issues become tangled with longings of the heart. - Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT and LOOKING FOR ME
A funny, moving and tear-jerking love story. - The Sun on BEFORE I GO
Colleen Oakley's debut deftly balances sorrow with laughs and compassion. - Us Weekly on BEFORE I GO
Before I Go brings humour and authenticity to a heart-wrenching journey. - Sunday Age
Author Oakley has set herself a tricky balancing act here, blending a comic sensibility with the depth and poignancy her subject requires. She pulls it off. - People Magazine on BEFORE I GO
Colleen Oakley takes on the big three - life, death,and love - and delivers a jewel. Before I Go absolutely glows with humour, wit, and compassion. I adore Oakley's fresh voice and could hardly bear for the book to end.--Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of MRS POE
An untraditional, but beautiful love story about the power and possibilities of the human heart. And how two people can touch each other - without ever even touching.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
I didn't really enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. There is a glossed over plot hole early in the story and it niggled at me so much I simply could not get past it for the rest of the book. Without giving too much away (I hope) Jubilee has been living as a recluse for 9 years never once leaving her home for 9 years and then in a matter of weeks she manages to not only leave her house but she regularily cycles to her new job in a customer facing service role.
I also found Jubilee to be quite an unlikeable character but this is no bad thing. How could someone who cannot even touch another person without potentially dieing have the social niceties or be able to even relate to other people? For me her self-absorption and need for a "connection" which can border on pathetic sometimes rings true for this character; howver unlikeable it makes her.
The secondary characters of Eric and Aja and are well written and well fleshed out characters. I really enjoyed the segments of the book dealing with the adopted son and his new dad. Their struggles to adapt to the loss of not only Aja's parents but the breakdown of Eric's marriage and his struggles to reconnect with his teenage daughter are poignant and genuinely funny in places.
Close Enough To Touch is a decent enough book but schmaltzy in places and only really spoilt by what I preceived to be an early plot hole. It is definitely of that category that I always think of as "literary self help" and one that I generally enjoy. I didn't feel I'd wasted the day it took me to read the book and if this is a genre you have enjoyed in the past then you would find this a worthwhile read.
Our protagonist is Jubilee Jenkins who suffers from a rare condition - she is deathly allergic to other people. Being touched by them specifically. Understandably, Jubilee has retreated from the world. But when her mother dies, financial straits drive her out into the world.
I quite liked the character of Jubilee - she's quirky with a great sense of humour. But what clinched the deal was her love of books. She manages to secure a job as a library assistant. Here, Oakley had me nodding uh huh and laughing out loud. You see, I work in a public library as well. Warning someone about viewing questionable material (okay let's just say it - porn) in a public space, amorous patrons in the stacks, toilet paper thievery and more. I loved this (very true) line: " The job is really only about sixty percent books. The other forty percent is community service. Mostly mental health."
Okay, I digress. Now that she's managed to get out in the world, Jubilee is of course going to be in contact with people. Not necessarily physical. She meets Eric and his son Aja at the library. Eric and Aja both are 'wounded' as well. Eric is divorced and his daughter won't speak to him. Aja's birth parents are dead and he and Eric are still trying to figure things out.
I enjoyed Jubilee's rediscovery of the world, her forays into friendship and her hopes for what might be. Aja was also a favourite. His view of the world and his coping mechanisms were heart-breaking. It's no wonder that he and Jubilee bond. But here's where I had a hard time. I just didn't like Eric. I found him insensitive, self-centered and self serving. Yes, he is trying to reconnect with his daughter - through texts as she won't speak to him, but he isn't really seeing the child in front of him. And even after he learns of Jubilee's condition, he still wants to reach out and touch her. I just couldn't buy the 'so enamoured I can't help myself.'
Close Enough to Touch is one of those books that you can't predict where its going to go. And as the end drew near, I grew quite happy with the turn things took. And then Oakley changed the direction of the ending. Abruptly. And this reader didn't like it. In an effort to remain spoiler free, I won't go into details. But if you've read the book, I'd love to know what you thought about the ending.
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Most recent customer reviews
Filled with wonderful characters - I LOVE Jubilee, Eric, and Aja, who are...Read more
Jubilee Jones is allergic to other people. Deathly allergic.Read more
This is a very touching story about Jubilee and Eric, two people who are really struggling and who...Read more