I recently travelled to Saskatoon for my granddaughter's grade eight graduation. As I stood in a shop looking at the book choices at the airport I realized that most of the options were ones that I had already read. Finally, I picked up a paperback by an author that I didn't know and read the back cover. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for as I prefer biographies and politics but due to the time constraints I quickly purchased it with an attitude of "it will have to do".
Well, it was hard to put the book down and found myself sneaking off into a corner at every opportunity to see what would happen next.
The main character, Noreen, is tricked into taking a buy-out package from the shoe company where she has been working. Because she has a fifty percent employee discount, she impulsively decides to purchase all of the available runners of her size. She then proceeds to rebuild her life using the eighteen months for which she has received severance pay instead of looking for another job.
Noreen begins walking as part of her daily routine. She starts looking around the community where she has lived and realizes that she has not paid much attention to her surroundings and, as a result, has not had many familiar or positive experiences there.
Noreen soon makes friends with two neighbours. The three women form "The Wildwater Walking Club" and commit to each walk 10,000 steps a day. Their activity, however, becomes much more than an athletic endeavor and, as they share their personal and family problems with each other, they find the support that relationships can bring.
But the characters that Claire Cook has created share much more than difficulties. In fact, they learn to laugh, set goals and encourage each other.
I loved the way that this author described tragic events and the emotions that each of us would likely experience the same situation. Her style drew me right into the plot in a personal and thought-provoking manner. And just when it seemed that things couldn't get much worse, I would find myself laughing out loud because of the humorous way that Ms. Cook described a situation.
This is not just a novel about walking and making friendships. It's a book about getting to know yourself - and liking what you find.
It seemed like only minutes until I reached the final page and there was a sadness in that. Oh, don't worry, I have added all of the author's other books to my Wish List and am eager to devour each of them.
If you are looking for a really good read, try "The Wildwater Walking Club".
I bet you'll catch a glimpse of yourself in its pages!