Ruby

22Jan09

I have GOT to stop reading tragic books about spousal deaths.  Inadvertently, I picked up Ruby by Ann Hood, right after reading A Hole in the Heart by Christopher Marquis, and while the stories do surround the loss of a spouse and rebuilding, the books are extraordinarily different.

In Ruby, Olivia, a 37 year old milliner loses her husband when a woman hits him with her car while he is jogging.  Alone in the world they’ve created and wrecked

Ruby by Ann Hood

Ruby by Ann Hood

by the fact that she was the one that suggested her husband take a jog, Olivia has to deal with her grief in her own personal and private way.  Surrounded by people who don’t necessarily seem to understand WHY she’s waiting so long to get over her sadness, Olivia would rather spend her days dreaming of the life she almost had with a husband who was her soul mate.

In a stroke of luck and fate, Olivia returns from her home after a jog, only to find Ruby, a pregnant 15 year old sitting at her kitchen table.  Ruby has no place to go, no one to provide emotional support, and is unsure that she even wants to be a parent.  Suddenly, Olivia regains a purpose, and has her eye on Ruby’s baby as a way to turn her life around.  Of course, this seems like an easy fix, but as reality sets in, Olivia’s wish for a family seems to clearly mask her grief.

On the surface, this book seems like it’s a simple story–it’s less than 300 pages, deals with the stages of grief, and Ruby, the unstable pregnant teenager yo-yos in her emotion and her desire whether or not to give up her child.  But under that simplistic story, Hood’s novel is really quite tender.  Through her relationship with Olivia, Ruby learns more about the world what she has been missing through her poor upbringing and naivete.  Olivia learns that rebuilding her life is possible, and that moving on means starting over, not piecing together parts of her past desires and dreams.

Ruby is full of many characters–some ridiculous, most endearing and all realistic, work together to create a rich tapestry that makes Ruby an enjoyable novel.  Though I kind of figured out the ending before finishing the book, I really did like it, and thought it was well done and extremely honest.   I’m eager to read more by Ann Hood.

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One Response to “Ruby”


  1. 1 Ten foot pole « Saucy & Bossy

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