CapeWomenOnline - Where Cape Women Shine

Your local venue for the women of Cape Cod to share their ideas, experiences and resources while inspiring each other in their life's journey

Inspire . Encourage . Network . Share

Literary Women banner
  • Facebook icon
  • Share

"Saving Gracie"

Book Review by Ginger Kimler

Published by Freestyle Press, 2012

The first chapter of Jill Teitelman's novel, Saving Gracie, drew me in like a child to a candy store. My craving to become a shut-in and enjoy its deliciousness trumped any outside obligation. I did not want to put the book down - until I got to the last 50 pages, at which point I read only a few pages per day in an effort to savor my time with its characters.

There is Ruth Kooperman, the narrator, who entered motherhood in her early forties not out of concern for a ticking clock, but because it seemed like the thing to do and her female friends were doing it - although it must be noted that free-thinking Ruth is not one who would follow jumpers off of a bridge.

Motherhood and her son's father move Ruth from New York City to "provincial" Boston, where she struggles to fit in until she meets Grace Stein. Grace's wit is surpassed only by her kindness, both securing Ruth at her side as the two women discuss and joke about every topic imaginable.

Their friendship allows them to become each other's saviors in remarkable ways, as relationships flow in and out of Ruth's life and illness flows in and out of Grace's.

This novel is sharp and funny. Each scene, each conversation, each description feels real, as if you are physically present in the story. It's not just that it is effortless to relate to the characters, rather that they are each a part of you and you see yourself in all of them - even in the opposite sex. You want for them what you want for yourself: peace with the past, love in the present, dignity in unexpected situations, and happiness all the time.

The autobiographical nature of the story was another draw for me. Jill Teitelman is a former writing professor with a compelling past, as you discover with the turn of each page.

Although Saving Gracie is self-published, any major press should have vied to publish this gem. It easily makes this English major's top-10 book list. I recommend it to anyone open to simultaneously engaging an oft-sardonic perspective on life and exploring the life-affirming qualities of illness.

Ginger Kimler is a freelance copyeditor and the mind behind Technology with Patience, which she started to help Cape Codders for whom technology is not intuitive learn how better to stay in touch with friends and family.

She lives in Eastham, Massachusetts, with her partner and their four cats.