Beginning Again by Sarah Pekkanen

shirls's review

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I am sorry but she was just too whiny for me... I wish the story had of been about her roommates... they were funny!

colleenlovestoread's review

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Continuing the streak of exemplary short stories, Beginning Again follows another thread in the interconnected lives found throughout the series. This time following Corrine Brown - Love, Accidentally's Ilsa's sister - we see a woman struggle to stay strong and continue to move forward into a new life when all she wants to do is go back to the old one.

Beginning on New Year's Eve at her sister's wedding to Griffin, Corrine cannot help but think of where she was just one year before. Then she was happy and married to her husband, Bruce. Now they are divorced, he has gone back to the first wife he never stopped loving and she has to move out of their home and into one all her own. How lonely she feels, even as she knows she has loved ones who are their to support her when she needs them. It just isn't the same, it seems, being all alone when everyone else goes home.

When searching for a new place she chances upon three young men who are looking for a female roommate. They have another woman moving in (Becca, Renee's sister, from These Girls!) and they want to find a second to keep her company. Young, disheveled and full of boundless energy, these "puppy boys" seem almost too much to handle. But won't they also serve to keep her from feeling alone?

Taking a chance and deciding to move in, Corrine soon finds a solid place from which to launch her new life. Even as she takes one step forward and two steps back, her roommates are there to support her - along with Ilsa and Griffin - to allow Corrine the space and experiences she needs to learn that she can be happy again, if she is only willing to keep moving forward into whatever life has waiting for her on the other side of loss.

There is nothing better to me than to find a great new character and to reacquaint myself again with other much loved ones. In Sarah Pekkanen's short story collection you get both! While Beginnng Again mainly follows Corrine, we get peaks into the lives of other characters from the series (such as Elise from All is Bright and Griffin and Ilsa from Love, Accidentally) as well as Becca from the full length novel These Girls. This helps to solidify questions left the last time we saw these characters as well as to see how they twist into the different lives of the various other characters.

Corrine is such an endearing character! Trying desperately to be strong and move on, it is hard to see her falter along her rocky and difficult road to accepting this new life she doesn't really want. Her roommates are delightful and I can only imagine that living with a lively and caring bunch of boys like that would lift anyone spirits! While the ending is definitely open ended and we don't necessarily see Corrine reach her "happy ever after", I have a feeling we will see more of her again. I am excited to see where this short story series goes next (please write more, Ms. Pekkanen!) and which new character thread will become the focus.

sbojo32's review

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This was a short story, but it was too short. I wanted another 10 pages of more closure - what was the deal with Becca, were they able to connect? Give me some more about the roommates and how they fit in. I understood the porpoise connection, but it seems that so much description was spent on the garden and the food being cooked, but not enough to truly wrap this story up.