Abigail Sorensen has spent her life trying to unwrap the events of 1990. It was the year she started receiving random chapters from a self-help book called The Guidebook in the post.
It was also the year Robert, her brother, disappeared on the eve of her sixteenth birthday.
She believes the absurdity of The Guidebook and the mystery of her brother’s disappearance must be connected.
Now thirty-five, owner of The Happiness Café and mother of four-year-old Oscar, Abigail has been invited to learn the truth behind The Guidebook at an all-expenses-paid retreat. What she finds will be unexpected, life-affirming, and heartbreaking.
Gravity is the Thing is an exquisite novel from Australian author Jaclyn Moriarty, a charming, heartwarming story about family, love, and hope. It’s about self-discovery and self-worth, and it’s about the complexities of relationships. This is one of my favourite books this year.
I fell in love with Abigail Sorensen from the very first page, from her trip to the airport all the way through the book until the very final moment. She’s observational, witty and hilarious, but she’s also caring and compassionate. Her voice is instantly relatable and she invites you into the book with her storytelling.
She’s also emotionally scarred. When she was a teenager, Abigail’s brother went missing and she’s never let go of him from her mind. She’s never given up hope that she’ll find out where he went or what happened to him. This retreat she’s been invited to seems like a ridiculous venture with no useful outcomes, but Abigail feels like she might get some answers by going. She feels drawn to this retreat. She somehow feels like Robert’s disappearance and The Guidebook are connected.
“Now we are in a field. Wilbur is handing out sacks that smell of horses and hay. He is shouting instructions. We are climbing into the sacks, lining up side by side for a sack race. Unexpected! The strange awkward loping of a sack race. (I am winning the race for a moment! Then tipping sideways into rutted grass. Bruising my hip. Coming in last. Oh well.)”
Abigail’s journey in the present is intercepted with flashbacks to the past — to Robert’s disappearance, to her marriage and its subsequent breakdown, to the birth of her son. The transition between past and present is effortless and allows for ease of reading.
The book is also peppered with chapters from The Guidebook that Abigail has been sent through the years. The Guidebook chapters have a habit of reflecting Abigail’s life, and they’re a timely delivery to her door each time.
Additionally, the mystery surrounding Robert’s disappearance does get solved by the end of the book, and it’s one of the major things that drives the pace of the book. As Abigail’s experience with the retreat continues, little clues are dropping into her life and she starts to feel like she may be able to solve the mystery, all these years later.
“Much of my sixteenth birthday was wasted being furious with Robert, at the same time as secretly thinking that his absence meant a surprise party for me, at the same time as being faintly frightened that something was wrong.”
I’ve read a few of Jaclyn’s books, and I love how well she weaves everything together and brings it to a close. Any loose bits of information are answered or explained, and the reader feels complete when they close the book.
I highly recommend this to readers. Gravity is the Thing is poignant, filled with beautiful writing and glorious characters. The premise is incredibly unique, and will draw readers in and keep them hooked until the very final page.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Gravity is the Thing
Pan Macmillan Publishers