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Friday, July 19, 2024 at 6:22 PM

Allison’s Book Report - “Hello Stranger” by Katherine Center

Allison’s Book Report - “Hello Stranger” by Katherine Center

Author: Photo courtesy of Allison Diegel

How is it already the middle of August? It is still crazy hot outside, but there is already a bit of crispness in the morning air. Some of the kids in town are back in school, and the rest aren’t far behind. It seems summer is almost over, and I do not know where it went. One thing that I can tell you with confidence is that I plan on enjoying summer until she gasps her very last breath. Swimming, margaritas, late-night star gazing, and of course, reading all of the beachy pool reads I can get my hands on are just a few summery things that I am just not ready to not do for a whole year.

This week’s book is from Katherine Center, one of my favorite “chick-lit” authors. “Hello Stranger” is the story of Sadie Montgomery, a struggling portrait artist. She is celebrating the first significant achievement of her life, placing as a finalist in the North American Portrait Society competition. She feels like she finally sees the light at the end of the tunnel until she needs immediate brain surgery. After the surgery, Sadie is left dealing with a condition known as “face blindness,” she can see, but every face she looks at is a jumbled puzzle of disconnected features. Not only is recognizing people impossible but what should a portrait artist do if she can’t see faces? Sadie finds herself worried and depressed, thinking that her big shot at winning the contest is gone and that her life as she knows it is over. When her beloved dog, Peanut, also falls ill, a handsome vet saves him, whom Sadie develops a serious crush on. At the same time, she can't seem to stay away from her annoyingly endearing neighbor. When the question of which man she likes more becomes as blurry as their faces, Sadie has to find some focus in her life. She must figure out who she wants, work through her condition, hang on to her artistic dream, and confront a lifetime of complicated family issues. 

I hadn’t thought much about how our brains recognize people or how vital this seemingly simple thing can be when navigating the world. I will say that while I found the romance part of the storyline funny and sweet, I also found it a little bit predictable, and I admit that I occasionally found Sadie to be closed-minded and bratty at times. Fortunately, she does experience much personal growth as the story progresses, making these things easier to move past. Sadie’s love interests were adorable and written so that you couldn’t help but fall in love with them both, along with Sadie, and of course, that guaranteed happy ending that we all love.

Until next week readers, gonna read while we soak up these dog days of summer, am I right? Please tell me what you have been reading on Instagram @allison.the.reader, where I do most of my reading and rambling daily.

Allison Diegel is the Executive Chaos Coordinator at the Diegel Home for Wayward Girls and Their Many Pets here in her hometown of Fallon.  She has been reading since before she could talk, and now she likes doing lots of both.