None of This Would Have Happened If Prince Were Alive
Carolyn Prusa's novel storms in with welcome dose of reality
Ramona's life seems to take the phrase "when it rains, it pours" to a new extreme — in this case, it comes in the form of a Category Four hurricane in the midst of all her other issues.
She has a boss with no concept of work-life balance, a toddler struggling through potty training, and an over-sharer for a mother — Ramona already has her plate full when she discovers her husband is cheating on her with one of the mothers from her son's elementary school. At this point, Hurricane Matthew seems to be the least of her troubles.
As the storm nears Savannah, Ramona makes the decision to evacuate with her two young children, but picks up two unlikely companions along the way: Bailey, a neighborhood teenager left home alone, and Clarence Thomas, the class guinea pig left in her son's charge for the weekend.
What follows is a difficult yet humorous attempt to evacuate town, with the constant looming of not only the storm on the horizon, but her minivan's check engine light's constant glow. Avoiding apology texts and calls from her husband and his mistress while also worrying about her mother, Ramona remembers the days when her life was like a Prince song, and longs for a time before he died, when none of this would've happened.
As a main character, Ramona isn't entirely likable — she doesn't fall into the "perfect" mold that a lot of main characters might fall into, and at times can be frustrating; but it is in her flaws that her relatability shines through. Carolyn Prusa deftly toes the line in creating a character that shows the realities of dealing with life as it hurtles at us, rather than painting the picture-perfect solutions usually found in fiction, creating a leading lady we didn't know we needed until now.
Atria Books // 336 pages // Contemporary Fiction