A Heart in a Body in the World was a read that only becomes more powerful the more time I reflect on the book. It is timely, emotional, and moving. There were moments so real, so raw, that I had to stop reading.
When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run?
So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her.
Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that.
Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.
Title: A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD
Author: Deb Caletti
Pub. Date: September 18, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hatdcover, eBook, Audiobook
A Heart in a Body in the World is a book about PTSD, survival, and the ways women have to navigate their own existence. The book has flashbacks and memories that bleed into the current story. There are secrets throughout the book and often ones that Annabelle is trying to hide herself.
At the same time, this book is about heart break and heart healing. Annabelle gives us facts about the heart in each chapter reminding us of all the amazing, strong, and vulnerable things it does. It’s a reminder to think more about the organ keeping us alive. And so how apt that this book is about our body, our heart, and how we figure it out.
Annabelle pushes her body further, hurting it while healing it, all while putting it back together. She has been made to realize the fragility of her body, but her journey teaches her about her own strength. It’s about realizing our limitations, that which makes us human, but also our potential for going beyond what we dreamed was possible.
At the same time, A Heart in a Body in the World is a book that shows us what it is like to be a woman. To be socialized about danger, but not from the people you expect. To have to moderate your own existence, to be easy going for your own safety. This section, this constant under current that I too live through each day, was incredibly moving to read about.
In many ways, this book is about a moment, that moment in our lives where we sense that feeling creep up into your throat, invade your lung space, and take over your life.
Annabelle’s journey becomes more than just herself, it transforms and expands by allowing us to read it. All at the same time looking at aspects of sexism, of gun control, and our challenges to fight for ourselves and process our own trauma.
About the Author
Deb Caletti is an award-winning author and National Book Award finalist. Her many books for young adults include The Nature of Jade, Stay, The Last Forever, Essential Maps for the Lost, and Honey, Baby Sweetheart, winner of the Washington State Book award, the PNBA Best Book Award, and a finalist for the California Young Reader Medal and the PEN USA Award. Her books for adults include He’s Gone, The Secrets She Keeps, and her most recent release, What’s Become of Her. Deb grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, and now lives with her family in Seattle.
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