Friday Book Whimsy: This Close to Okay

Tallis Clark is a family therapist. One evening when driving home from her office, she spots a man standing at the edge of a bridge looking for all the world like he’s about to jump into the water. Before she can change her mind, she pulls over and literally talks him off the ledge.

Tallis uses her training as a counselor to convince him to join her for a cup of coffee at a nearby cafe. While he won’t tell her why he is prepared to kill himself, he does respond to her kindness. Still convinced that he can’t be trusted to be left alone, she invites him to her house. She doesn’t tell him that she is a therapist by training and profession, justifying her action by telling herself as long as she doesn’t tell him, he isn’t her client and there are no ethical issues. Her intentions are honorable, though, because she just wants to keep him from going back to the bridge. He ends up spending several days with her.

This Lose to Okay, by Leesa Cross-Smith, is a well-told story, if somewhat unconvincing in parts. The two main characters — Tallis and Emmett — are realistic and likable, both troubled by their past, but both unwilling to share their whole stories with one another. Though I’m not terribly familiar with the practice of family therapy, I find it hard to believe that it wouldn’t be unethical to be coaching life practices like she did without admitting that she does this for a living.

Nevertheless, it is a story of friendship and understanding and trust. The author keeps us guessing about Emmett’s story until nearly the end. I found her continuing connection to her ex-husband to be somewhat tiresome. And Emmett’s role in continuing the connection was darnright unbelievable.

Still, I liked the book — and the author’s ability to tell a good story — very much.

Here is a link to the book.