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Monday, April 15, 2024 at 8:58 AM

Allison's Book Report: “Shark Heart: a Love Story” by Emily Habeck

Allison's Book Report: “Shark Heart: a Love Story”  by Emily Habeck
Photo by Alison Diegel.

Readers can be creatures of habit. We tend to gravitate toward the same types of books repeatedly, possibly spreading the love between a genre or two that “speak” to us. I have a pretty broad scope for my preferred genres – I love romance, thrillers, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and more – but “Shark Heart: A Love Story” by Emily Habeck refuses to be forced into any category. It is one of the strangest stories I have ever read, but it is also one of the most beautiful, heartfelt stories I have ever read and one of the best books I have read all year. So, all I’m saying is keep an open mind while I tell you about this beautifully written debut novel about marriage, motherhood, metamorphosis, and letting go.

Lewis and Wren's first year of marriage will also be their last. Within a few weeks of their wedding, after noticing some strange symptoms, Lewis is diagnosed with a rare condition. Doctors tell Lewis that he will retain most of his consciousness, memories, and intellect – but his physical body will gradually turn into a great white shark. As he develops the features and impulses of an apex predator, his complicated artist’s heart struggles to make peace with the things that will never come to be. At first, Wren tries to find a way for them to be together even after the changes are complete – but a glimpse of Lewis’s new carnivorous nature re-activates some long-lost memories for Wren. The story then goes back and forth between Wren’s turbulent childhood on a houseboat in Oklahoma, her time with her college ex-girlfriend, and her strange new friendship with a pregnant woman with twin birds. We also get the backstory of Wren’s mother, Angela – a teenager pregnant and in an abusive relationship, who eventually faces a diagnosis of her own. All of the grief and loss in Wren’s life eventually come to a head, forcing Wren to make an impossible choice.

I warned you that it was different, but “Shark Heart: A Love Story” is unforgettable. This allegory is about love, loss, change, letting go, moving on, and finding joy even in grief. Honestly, Habeck took a big risk on this novel and I can confidently tell you that it paid off. I will be thinking about this beautifully written novel for a very long time. Please step out of your reading comfort zone this week and read “Shark Heart,” I desperately need someone to talk to about this book. Pop over to my Instagram @allison.the.reader, and let’s talk about it. I will be waiting to compare notes on this different and thought-provoking novel.


Comment author: Claude EzzellComment text: Paul was one of the most manifest men I have ever met. He was a good friends with my Dad and always had an entertaining story for the occasion. One of my most favorite stories Paul told dated back to the late 60s or early 70s and it revolved around him killing a deer way out in the mountains. Naturally the deer ran down into a deep canyon and died. Knowing that it would take him forever to haul it out he devised an awesome plan. After preparing the deer he drove back to NAS Fallon and rustled up a SAR crew and they flew out and picked up the deer. Of course it was labeled as a training flight but what the hell in those days you could do that sort of thing. Rest in Peace my friend until we meet again!!Comment publication date: 4/11/24, 1:15 PMComment source: Obituary - LCDR Paul N PflimlinComment author: THughesComment text: So sad to hear. Prayers to the Goings family.Comment publication date: 4/5/24, 6:35 PMComment source: Obituary - Bill GoingsComment author: April SmithComment text: I love this beautiful woman and her family so much. Such a pure soul and I had a great pleasure taking care of her while she was at the homestead and being by her side for her last daysComment publication date: 4/2/24, 8:50 PMComment source: Obituary - Frances Elaine (Sanford) Atkinson V Comment author: Veronica BrandenburgComment text: Dee was the nicest lady! I remember her fondly from the days of my youth at Northside Elementary, many years ago. She and Mrs. Rowe were my favorite office ladies! I am so sorry to hear of her passing. My thoughts are with her family.Comment publication date: 4/1/24, 3:26 PMComment source: Obituary - Mary Delda “Dee Hewitt