2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
"What about sunsets and sunrises, the ebbs and tides of my own life? I think about the still-new love that suddenly, unexpectedly crashed into me like a powerful wave. The love that lit up the darkest corners of my heart and filled me with the greatest joy I have ever known."
Sitting on a beach as the sun gives way to dusk and then dark, Megan holds onto an envelope from Mamma, waiting until the last possible minute to open it up and read the letter waiting inside. H.B. Milligan's Teeth in a Pickle Jar is the story of second chances and taking risks, of finding love in unexpected places and letting one's heart be open to joys and sorrows. Megan is a 44-year-old single mother, living in an apartment and teaching French. With a daughter in college and a brash, opinionated mother, Megan is living her life day to day, not really happy but getting by.
When she decides to have a web site designed for her business, she meets a designer named Brent online. They chat via instant messenger, and before long their chats become personal. Each feels a connection, a chemistry, despite the distance between them - Megan is in New York, while Brent is in Florida. When Megan finds out Brent is just 30, she goes through the reasons in her head why it can't work. But despite it all, the connection is forged, and Megan allows herself to go with her feelings.
After Brent makes a couple of trips to New york to see Megan in person, Megan takes a trip to Florida. There she meets Brent's sister, who is opposed to the idea of their May-December romance, and Megan winds up feeling that she's right. Having lost faith that they can make it work, Megan nearly sabotages the budding relationship.
Back in New York, Megan focuses on her life there. She's angry with her mother for not accepting Brent and failing to support her daughter's interests. She's worried about her sick neighbor, Tina. But mostly, she misses Brent and regrets not trusting him more.
Teeth in a Pickle Jar left me with tears in my eyes as I finished reading it. I wasn't sure how much I was going to like the book as I started it, and certain details here and there didn't sound terribly authentic, but the further I got into the book, the more moving the dialogue become and the more engrossed I became in the characters' lives. Arguments with Mamma sounded like they could have easily been real words that Milligan put down on paper. Milligan is the 'older woman' in her own marriage, so she writes with a knowing voice when Megan speaks of her insecurities as well as her confidence.
Despite some weaknesses when it comes to dealing with her own mother for much of the story, Megan is a remarkably strong woman. Pregnant after her first sexual experience, she stands up to her monster of a mother-in-law and never backs down. Putting myself in those shoes, I don't know that I could have held my head that high, particularly at that young age. She also learns from that experience, and from the way her Mamma treats her, and gives her daughter the support she needs when life throws her a curve ball.
Teeth in a Pickle Jar is about being hopeful and supportive, about believing in dreams and having the courage to go after them. How much of it is fiction and how much of it is based on Milligan's own life, I don't know, but overall it is a story of faith and family, of loving and being loved. The story ends where it started, with Megan reading the letter from Mamma on that darkened beach. The plot moves along a bit fast at times, but the dialogue and characters are believable, and the story funny and touching.