Saturday, July 18, 2020

Deja Vu: "You Again," by Debra Jo Immergut

Abigail Willard is heading home from work one rainy night when she sees something that makes her leave the comfort of her taxi and leap over puddles into the downpour. She stands, rain soaked, as she watches a young woman emerge from a doorway. That young woman is Abby, the Abby she used to be... 20 or so years ago.
Ms. Immergut immediately grabs the reader and immerses them in this impossible dual life. Can two Abbys coexist in the same world? The Abby of today works as a graphic artist for a pharmaceutical company. Once she was an artist, one that was recognized for her unique understanding of color and design. She had passion and believed in herself . Now, that dream seems to belong to the past. To the other Abby.
 The 46 year old Abby is also a wife, married to another artist, a man she met at art school, who once had a promising career as a sculptor.  Together they have two challenging teenage sons. Not sure if what she has seen is a hallucination, a dream or a vision... she begins to search for her younger self at the old haunts she frequented back when she was first getting to know the city. There is so much she would tell this version of  herself. Will she get the chance?

Abby's story is interspersed with documents and texts and notes made by therapists and doctors. Something has happened or will happen or might happen to Abigail as she tries to make sense of the visions and also deal with her older son's questionable new interests and her midlife questioning of her marriage and choices.

Not giving too much away, let me just say I found Abby to be a heartbreakingly believable character, especially from the viewpoint of those of us making a living in the arts. As you enter the world that these Abbys inhabit and lose yourself in their story, there are surprises in store and mysteries, both mystical and medical.  I worried for these Abbys and had to stay up late so I could find out everything that happens! This is a must read for anyone who loves the sort of book that will have you thinking about it long after that final page is turned. I loved this one, a 5 star Militant Recommendation! Thank you to Edelweiss for the DRC!

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