Sunday, July 26, 2015

REVIEW: Making It

Making It
By: Amanda Gibbs

Genre: Literary Fiction, Poetry
Publisher: Amanda Gibbs
Publication date: 4.21.2015
Pages: 45

I must admit, when I received an email about reviewing this book, I wasn't so sure.  I know we shouldn't judge a book by a cover, but it's true that we all do.  I did not find the cover appealing.  It did not draw me in like I expect a cover to do.  

BUT.  (There is always a but with me, isn't there?)  

I'm glad that I took a chance on this book.  It's cute.  Heck, it's more than cute.  I read the book in .pdf format, so I have no idea what the "real" layout actually is, and I don't know which stories were supposed to be poems and which were supposed to be just stories - to me they all looked like stories - but I really enjoyed each and every one of them.  It was a "romance" that you don't normally see - a real life look at the way couples are with each other.  I really liked both "characters" and how they reacted to each other in different situations, how real (I know I've used that word a couple of times now) their story was.  If romance was like this, I might actually decide to start reading it.  

A quick read and definitely enjoyable.  Thanks, Amanda, for such a great book.

About the book:
Making It, Amanda Gibbs' debut short story, invites readers into the most intimate and personal moments of a couple's life spanning throughout decades.  The story is told through prose, poetry, dialogue, lists, and focused vignettes, all with Amanda's signature concrete voice.  Each entry of Making It represents a day in a year of the couple's relationship, spanning from first meeting to 30th anniversary.

"How am I supposed to know when to say I love you?"
            She passed him the tomato plant to put on the apartment balcony.  It was the first thing they had ever owned together.
            "When to say I love you, or when you know you love someone?"
            He reached over to rub the dirt smear off her cheek.  He licked his finger to make sure he got it all.  She didn't think twice of it.
            She stopped planting for a moment to look out at the industrial view facing her.  Hotels, factories, more apartments.  A couple was having sex against the window across the street.  She didn't look away as she said it.
            "I think you know you love someone when you do things for them when it's inconvenient for you.  I think you say I love you when they do too."

~A week before the tomato plant died

The first time he said it, they were assembling an IKEA baby crib for her sister's newborn.  He was kneeling on the ground reading her instructions while she lay partway under the crib, screwdriver in hand to do the hard bits.  She didn't even hear him the first time.  She wore his old painting t-shirt and a pair of Roots sweatpants, and he had just yelled at her a half hour before for spending too much money on Wendy's.
            "I love you."
            She reached her hand out to pat his knee affectionately.  "No, babe, it's fine, you didn't shove me at all."
            She had the screwdriver in her mouth so she could use both hands to piece the thing together, making it difficult for him to understand much of what she said either.  He did one of those nervous laughs reserved for 10th graders about to give a presentation on the reproductive organs, but, to his credit, he said it again quite fanatically and even toned, especially for a man who had only ever previously said "I love you" to his mother and goldfish.
            "I love you."
            She dropped the screwdriver.  On her face.
            "What did you say?"  It barely came out as a whisper.  "I love you."
            The first time she said "I love you" was 13 weeks after he did.  He was sleeping, she was propped up on her elbow staring at him, as she had been for the past three hours trying to garner the confidence to spit out the three words.  It was his snore that did it.  He did this thing where he simultaneously exhaled and inhaled, while making a spitting noise which included an elephantine snore.  She started giggling uncontrollably, and didn't even realize at first when the words popped out.
            "I love you."
            It didn't matter that it would be six more months before she said it to his face, because she said it.  It was out there in the universe.  And she meant it.

~How she chipped her front tooth from a screwdriver

"I always get so sad when I see 8- year old couples eating at restaurants, not saying anything the whole time."
            She turned the pepper grinder over his soup exactly three and a half times; he didn't need to ask.
            He poured her wine to the half way mark; she didn't need to ask.
            "Because.  They've been around each other so long, they have nothing left to say.  I never want to be like that."
            He toyed with the stem of his glass a moment.
            "But what if they're so comfortable around each other, they know each other so well, they don't always need words to communicate?  They've gotten to the point where silence is comfortable ... then I'd want to be exactly like that."
            They ate the rest of their meal in comfortable silence.

~Tomato Soup and Chardonnay

About the author:
Amanda Gibbs is an eighteen-year-old student, photographer, and actress from Toronto, Canada.  Writing since preschool with Crayola crayons, Amanda's passion is writing stories that make the mundane beautiful, and the little moments in life profound.  Inspired by writers like Michael Faudet, Jamie McGuire, and Walt Whitman, Amanda loves experimenting with form, dialogue and combining poetry and prose.  In her spare time, Amanda trains in mixed martial arts and takes care of her six dogs, as well as procrastinating schoolwork to write her next book.

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