Every now and then a book reels me in so effectively that I forego sleep for story development. This was the case with The Bright Side of Disaster, which I finished the other night (morning, actually), several hours after Jon and Laurel had drifted off upstairs.
Bright Side (available in July, but you can preorder it now) is Katherine Center’s impressive, cheeky debut. And while a story about a deadbeat fiancée who bails on his pregnant wife may sound like troubling content for moms and moms-to-be, the spark and humor of the writing immediately created a central character (Jenny) I wanted to see through to the end.
Bright Side no doubt will stir up visceral memories for veteran moms (or give impending moms a preview of what’s to come). Center realistically portrays Jenny's abandonment of basic needs (food, sleep, hygiene) in the face of her new daughter's care, as well as the blisteringly raw relief of discovering mama peeps with whom it’s okay to air vulnerabilities, frustration, and fear. Also ringing familiar were basic relationship quandaries, such as whether it’s better to be single than in a crummy relationship, and the related, nasty temptation of staying in a relationship rut because it’s easy, familiar territory, even though there’s clearly a better option on the horizon (these are both disturbingly familiar scenarios from my pre-Jon days…).
There were a couple of points where Bright Side could have opted for simplistic sap, but Center deftly creates turns to add intrigue while keeping the story real and fallible. Although I have a tendency to cast people (famous or familiar) into the characters of the novels I read, Bright Side was such an entertaining ride that I wager it may actually become a movie.