I read a book this week. (I know, shock). Since I can't have sex with Hoppie until the bleeding stops, I thought a nice way to compensate would be to read porn. And that's where Stranger comes in. She's goes to a bar and a guy tries to pick her up, but he's clearly the wrong guy. And then a guy who looks like the right guy comes up to her and fulfills her fantasy about sex with stranger, taking her upstairs to his hotel room. He's a tall, broad man with callused talented hands. While there, she gets a call from work and checks her voicemail. She's a funeral home director and so provides 24/7 coverage. While there, she also sees a text message from the right guy; the guy she should have met in the bar who tells her he's sorry he's managed to miss her at the bar and wondering what he's supposed to do. Instead of picking up the stranger she'd paid a service to send, she's slept with an actual stranger. Now what?
As the story goes on, she leaves without getting any contact information from Sam, the long, tall, stranger, but she does hook with Jack and pay him to act out a variety of fantasies. And then Sam shows up again as the brother of client who is burying his father. Grace now has a choice to make; something she can control with a guy she can control, or a real relationship. She pays for her service because she's can't cope with the idea of losing someone she loves and because she works in a funeral home, she knows that death is inevitable.
Reading about her struggle between detachment and connection as she tries to feel her way around the minefield of relationships that evolve and change is eye-opening. I feel echoes of my own doubts and struggles. Do I keep trying to have a baby or do I hold back from making that commitment again? If death is inevitable then pain inevitably follows. If you stare into the abyss, it's hard to see anything worthwhile in life because the vastness of death is so overwhelming. Obviously she encounters many people grieving in their different ways. Her friend's father dies and the friend's mother is bitter and angry and cancels everything he wanted for his funeral and replaces it all with cheaper versions and decides to take a cruise. Late in the book, she speaks to one of the mourners who has just lost his wife and she asks him whether it was worth it. Whether he would still have married her knowing she would die and leave him alone. "Of course." he answers explaining that his life for the years he had her was immeasurably better and even now he will always have the memories they created.
It's a modern-day maturation tale, instead of the child becoming adult; the adult becoming adult. Learning to let go and allow life to happen, rather than trying to control it.