Synopses & Reviews
From a contributing editor for Vogue
, a pitch-perfect, funny, and poignant novel about the joy and heartache of how deeply one person's life can affect so many others.
With wit and warmth, first novel And Sometimes Why captures the fragile rhythm and unpredictable drama of family life. When Sophia and Darius say good- bye to their teenage daughters one unremarkable morning, they have no idea how permanently their family will be affected by a decision made around the breakfast table. One of the daughters will have a terrible accident, the other will meet a boy. Both events will change their lives forever.
The accident will set in motion a chain of events involving Harry, the still handsome B-list celebrity host of a sadistic hit game show; Anton, a sexually repressed unemployed filmmaker; and Misty, who has reached month seven in what was supposed to be a six-month campaign to make something of herself. As Sophia and Darius cope with the impact of the accident on their relationship, their oldest daughter is faced with making a choice between seizing the day and hanging on to the past. All choose unexpected paths to the same conclusion.
Profoundly honest, and rendered with a deft lightness of touch, And Sometimes Why is a novel about how quickly life can change and how we must learn to change with it.
"Vogue contributing editor Johnson examines in her heartbreaking debut the ties that bind and break in the face of tragedy. Darius, a Shakespeare scholar and professor, and his wife, Sophia, head of membership at a local art museum, are mired in the banal ebb-and-flow of family life they share with their two teen daughters bookish Miranda and imperious social butterfly Helen. A sisterly tussle over use of the family car ends with Miranda attending college orientation and finding herself attracted to fellow freshman-to-be Jason, and Helen, while riding on the back of her just-dumped boyfriend's motorcycle, getting into a horrific traffic accident. As Helen lies in the ICU suspended between life and death, the author gives voice to the people Helen has touched: Darius and Sophia find little solace in each other; Harry Harlow, the game show host who was involved in Helen's accident, witnesses his life falling apart; and Miranda awkwardly navigates the feelings Jason has stirred within her. While the wandering focus on disparate characters pulls the novel in unwieldy directions (as when Miranda drops out to follow her boyfriend to Alaska), Johnson's portrayal of a family's grieving is exquisitely crafted." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Unflinching and heartbreaking, Johnson's first novel deftly depicts the different ways people react to and own tragedy, be it one that directly or tangentially affects them. The powerful story and characters will stay with the reader long after the final page is turned." Booklist (Starred Review)
With wit and warmth, Johnson's debut novel captures the fragile rhythm and unpredictable drama of family life.
A "smart, sharply observant, even gently funny" (The Washington Post) debut novel of heartache and joy
Witty and surprising, Rebecca Johnson's first novel is about the unexpected links between one family and the world around them. Sophia and Darius have a well-worn marriage, two teenage daughters, and no foreseeable drama on the horizon. One morning, the two girls fight over the keys to the family car and set into motion an accident. The accident triggers a chain of events involving Harry, a still handsome B-list celebrity game-show host; Anton, a sexually repressed unemployed filmmaker; and Misty, who has reached month seven of what was supposed to be a six month campaign to make something of herself. Profoundly honest, this is a novel about the unpredictability of life, and the joy and heartache of how deeply one person's life can affect so many others.
About the Author
Rebecca Johnson has been a contributing editor for Vogue for the last eleven years. Her extensive career in journalism also includes writing "Talk of the Town" columns at The New Yorker and working as a contributing editor at Talk magazine. She lives in Brooklyn and Bedford, New York, with her husband, two children, and three stepchildren.