by Kate Brandt
Hope for the Worst is a master stroke of delicacy in depicting the fragility of the human spirit.
Twenty-four-year-old Ellie has sunk into a deep depression. Every night she experiences the sleeplessness of someone who’s suffered a terrible childhood psychological wound inflicted by her artist father. Every day she drags herself out of bed to complete a dead-end secretarial job in New York City. In between are moments in which people reach out to offer help, but she can’t hear or feel them.
Until, that is, she meets Calvin, an almost-60 hippie Buddhist lecturer who slowly and carefully seduces vulnerable Ellie, and worse, gives her hope he’ll be able to alleviate her pain.
From there, Ellie must decide to listen to others’ advice or not; to give into life’s disappointments or not; to stand on her own, or not. The journey takes her to the Himalayas where she’s faced with remaining lost or discovering the strength and clarity that can set her free.
The writing is gorgeous, both lyrical and true. And the author’s choice to show us Ellie’s journey via journal entries provides an intimacy that exquisitely depicts the enormous shifts that can occur between one moment and the next.
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Bliss Road, a memoir, June 2023
The Falcon, the Wolf and the Hummingbird, a historical novel, Sept. 19 2023