I was looking for recently published books to review, and this one came up. I didn’t imagine I would love it as much as I did.
Adri is about to become a colonist on Mars. Before that happens, she’s introduced to a family member she never knew she had. Catherine lives during Dust Bowl-era Kansas, and finds uncertainty as she starts a new relationship with the boy she’s always secretly loved. Lenore is writing from the late 1910s, reeling after the death of her brother.
This one isn’t an action-packed book by any means. It’s a slower book, one dominated by relationships building and breaking. And lots of regret. And, in all honesty, it hit close to home. I recently had a friend marry and move away, so the uncertainty between longtime, long distance best friends Lenore and Beth echoed a lot of what I’ve been feeling lately. It’s amazing how much a book can do that–hit you right at your core, where you feel the most pain.
There’s a different draw to each story, but each is ultimately about the regret found in the past, and finding the strength to move forward with a new beginning. Adri has to put her loneliness behind her before making her way to Mars. Catherine needs to choose a path between the home and boy she’s always loved, and the potential to save her sister and see the world. Lenore just wants to connect again with her best friend, but also quietly discovers a new friendship with the mysterious man living in an abandoned cabin in the woods.
Nothing is easy for any of our heroines, as they figure out the life and love the world has in store for them. And nothing is easy for the reader, as they experience each character’s remorse and new hope. I cried a lot at the end, not necessarily for sadness. Not all stories are tied up at the end in a neat bow, but most leave you with just enough closure that you can close the book and feel content. Adri’s letter at the end illuminates what the reader thinks as they reach the end of everyone’s story.
Reading Midnight at the Electric brings emotions and strength and hope, in a way many books fail to do. It manages to do so without fanfare, without dramatics. It’s just a quiet, calm book about normal people each finding their own simple way to be extraordinary for themselves and the people closest to them. If nothing else, this book shows that sometimes you don’t need to do something huge to be extraordinary. Maybe a few of us will be the first to colonize Mars, but most of us will go on to shine light for smaller, but certainly not lesser, reasons. Sometimes it’s the little things that make us special.
It’s difficult to put how I feel about this book in words, but I had to at least try. I went into the book with average expectations, and came out a person wondering about my own life, regrets, and the beginnings I need to start. I seemed to learn as much about myself as I did about the three main characters.
I truly mean this when I say it: Since Jodi Lynn Anderson managed to make me feel this way from one book, without reading all her other’s, I might still consider her one of the best damned writer’s I ever read.
This book won’t be for everyone, but for me it has everything.