“I must use my voice, because it’s the only thing you have when someone is larger and more powerful than you.”
A run for a cause from Seattle to Washington D.C. As her family, the townsfolk, and the press cheer her on, Annabelle Agnelli looks back on the fateful day when “The Taker” changed his life during a shooting incident. She crosses each state towards the capital with the issue of gun control on her agenda, aware that eventually, she will have to face her guilt and fear at the end of her run.
Deb Caletti’s “A Heart in a Body in the World,” carries a key message about emotional healing. This book is a race that will bring readers to a journey about the process of recovering after a major trauma. But unlike a race with a start and an end, the story is a roller coaster ride of guilt, fear, anger, joy, and hope.
The story is about Annabelle Agnelli who endeavored to run across the United States all the way to the capitol in Washington, D.C. Her purpose is to bring attention to gun control after experiencing a shooting incident which took the life of the two persons close to her. From Seattle to the capital, Caletti reveals the story leading to the incident: a tumble of memories as Annabelle begins the process of healing through confronting her feelings.
The narration is dragging and midway through the book, the suspense and mystery start to get more and more annoying. The readers were left in the dark for too long about the shooting incident. The slow reveal technique is good but only at a certain point. While I like reading Annabelle’s thoughts and memories, the third person point of view actually takes out the full emotion in the story.
The secondary characters help in making the story more interesting but to the point of being like a Disney movie which is at times too cheesy and unreal. The sudden drop of character names out of nowhere who the readers don’t know anything about is really annoying. “The woman reminds her of Tracie.” The fu*k, who is Tracie? At some point, the readers will not care anymore about being aware of the characters because they not only did not stick to the readers’ consciousness, the author also did not even bother to tell us who these characters are. Case in point, the mysterious Seth Gregory. The Seth Gregory reveal style is not impressive and is annoying and cheap.
Geek Rate: Sun god Worthy (4 out of 5 stars). “It is clear that this endeavor is much more about the head than the body,” Annabelle thought during her run. In a way, Deb Caletti’s “A Heart in a Body in the World,” is not about gun violence and the politics that surround it, but the trauma of a person involved in such an incident. It is a story about the process of grieving and healing. The story’s structure is problematic and Caletti’s writing style makes for sometimes a frustrating read. But a book like this is more important now than ever before. Through Annabelle’s story, readers will be aware of the effect such senseless violence will have to an ordinary person and to the community, and the importance of continuing the discussion of how to solve it.