Thursday, February 2, 2017

BOOK: Getting Over Edgar by Joan Barfoot

Getting Over Edgar by Joan Barfoot, 270 pages

There are two getting over Edgar parts for Gwen in this story. First, her husband of twenty years up and leaves her with no warning. This throws poor passive Gwen into a tailspin. Forty years old and she hasn't worked, struggled with fertility and now her lawyer husband has abandoned her. This should be enough for a book, but Edgar ends up having bigger problems, what with his car getting stuck on the tracks and then struck by a train and then dying on Gwen only seven weeks after leaving her. (The book begins with the funeral, so none of this is a secret.)

Gwen has to deal with so many changes here - who she is, who Edgar actually was, why their life turned out the way it did. This makes it sound like an introspective book, but Gwen deals with these changes and her previous passivity by doing stuff. Picking up a much younger guy, David, the night of Edgar's funeral. Then getting rid of everything in her/their home, selling the home and hitting the road.

David's story, a slightly disturbed young man, also gets some background. He is quite strange inside but seemingly normal on the outside. Gwen and David's interaction has far reaching effects on both of them and most of the book looks at these repercussions.

This was a nice mix of story and character development, with some wry moments. I'm not sure what I think of either of Gwen or David, but their progression was interesting. It was a little convenient that Edgar the lawyer never got around to changing his will, so Gwen has no money issues.

I bought this book secondhand soon after reading Barfoot's Exit Lines, eight years ago. The cover at first glance always makes me think of a saxophone, but it is Edgar's fancy midlife car.