David is a brilliant young man living alone in an old seaside motel in San Francisco in 1979. He has just destroyed the life that he and his live-in girlfriend Kate spent two years building together.
He has no idea why he did the terrible thing he did. All he knows is that he's appalled he did it, and desperately wants Kate back. Fat chance. Kate, who loves David, is many things. Stupid isn't one of them.
Everywhere She's Not is about crazy-making, mind-boggling, gut-wrenching love. It's about how ultimately rewarding it can be to keep hoping, even when you know there's no hope at all.
It's about passing through locked motel doors, travel brochures for ax-murderers, Cornish game hens playing lawn darts.
It's about helping your best friend, who is gay, pretend that he isn't gay, so that his ex-wife won't take away his child visitation rights.
It's about David Allen Finch finally facing the truth of who his family is, and what they've made him become--and what, if anything, he can do about that.
Plot: Although the essential storyline is arguably basic (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wants girl back), Shore tells that story in a deeply engrossing manner, producing a highly satisfying reading experience through the addition of fascinating background facts (e.g., devil's grip), mysteries (why David's mother abandoned the family and where she went), subplots (Jerald's hotel saga and the drama with his ex-wife over visitation rights with his son), and insights on life (especially David's father's "try to win her back" pep talk). The author introduces these narrative threads while maintaining forward cohesion and focus.
Prose: Shore's prose is nearly transparent--which is extremely high praise. The writing is so stylistically on target that the language itself falls away, allowing the reader to enter into the subtleties of the story completely.
Originality: From its evocative 1970s San Francisco setting to its clearly drawn characters and the efficient specificity of detail surrounding nearly all plot events, this novel stands apart for its originality. The novel is a testament to the notion that the strongest works are often those with simple storylines, exceptionally told.
Character Development: Character development is outstanding, with understated but masterfully drawn portraits of each individual player. Shore's protagonist is authentically funny and rawly sympathetic. Side characters are provided distinctive voices and roles that complement rather than clutter the story.
Date Submitted: August 20, 2019
“It’s not easy to tell a story that is filled with hilarious humor, the pangs of love lost, excruciatingly sad family life and deep, deep inner circumspection that ultimately uplifts your soul, but John has done just that. I highly recommend you read this book; you will thank me later.”