Expected publication date: May 15, 2018
Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment .I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. - from Goodreads
Judging from the many glowing reviews for this book on Goodreads, it seems like I may be an outlier, because I was not blown away by How To Walk Away. I really wanted to like this one, too! Warning: minor spoilers below.
Despite Margaret's fear of flying, her boyfriend Chip takes her up in a Cessna and proposes to her. Their joy, though, is quickly erased when their plane crash-lands, leaving Margaret partially paralyzed and badly burned. Now, Margaret must learn to navigate her new way of life.
Ugh, I just had a lot of issues with this book:
- Obnoxious characters. So many of them. Margaret's mother is overbearing and blunt to the point of rudeness. Chip completely falls apart after the accident, wracked with guilt. Ok, I know it's not really right to judge someone else's grief, but Chip was basically the worst. He can't even bear to look at Margaret; he gets drunk every night; and he cheats on her, then proposes to her again because he feels obligated. And Margaret's physical therapist Ian is one of the most unlikable characters I've come across.
- The romance. I guess this is a hate-to-love romance? Ian doesn't talk to Margaret during sessions, except to criticize her. She doesn't really like working with him, either, until she gets a whiff of his "intoxicating scent," and suddenly she's obsessed with him. He gives her completely mixed signals, passionately kissing her then telling her he has no feelings whatsoever for her. The whole thing was just kind of unethical.
- The cheesy, cliche ending. Most of the book takes place in the weeks following the accident, but when Margaret is released from the hospital, the story kind of went off the rails for me. Over the next year, a big secret rips through Margaret's family and there's a random trip to Brussels. It was just too saccharine for me.
- Margaret's relationship with her sister, Kitty. Although Kitty walked out on the family three years ago, as soon as she hears about Margaret's accident, she's by her side, never leaving her and always encouraging her.
- The research the author put into the book. I could tell the author had learned about paralysis, different therapy techniques, and the potential prognosis for Margaret.
- Margaret's internal struggles. I appreciated that the author included both setbacks and successes for Margaret. Her feelings in the weeks after the accident felt so real; a lot of the time she was completely numb. I mean, it must be so hard to reconcile that just days earlier, she had it all, and now she had to basically start all over again. She had good days, but she also had a lot of bad days where she felt hopeless and even depressed. Ok, not that I want people to feel hopeless; I just want it to be realistic. I kind of wish the author had included more mental health therapy in the book, as opposed to just the physical therapy.