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Gilmore Girls Book Club: Always by Sarah Jio

always-1

If there was any other way to combine reading and the love of Gilmore Girls, this group of women clearly know how to do it right. Introducing the Gilmore Girls Book Club! A colleague of mine found a list for 13 Books Coming Out for Gilmore Girls Fans in 2017 and gauged interest from us and the rest is history. To clarify, none of these books are directly related to the Gilmore Girls nor are they on the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. They are books reminiscent of small town living and the quirky and lovable characters we’ve grown up with.

Our first installment was Always by Sarah Jio, a unique twist on boy meets girl, boy loses girl, etc. We were pleasantly surprised that it was not as predictable as we had believed, although the title provides some evidence of the trajectory. Before knowing the reason behind Cade’s sudden skipping out of town, I resonated with Kailey’s thought “I’ve realized that when someone wants to leave, you let him go” (Jio 8). The feeling of having no choice but to accept the fact that that person is gone is challenging, and yet there is no closure. What we discussed was if her actions towards caring for Cade when she finds that he is homeless with brain trauma are justified because this is her chance to close that door before marrying Ryan and committing to him fully (as much as she would be able to after finding her first true love). We decided that either path she chose, there would still be some twinge of regret and wonder of what if?

With the underlying themes of music, food, and homelessness, we wish there were more opportunities to dive deeper into the symbols and deeper meaning. Having Kailey be strong in her opinions towards saving the shelter and shedding light by writing a piece on Cade as a journalist definitely touches on the sensitive issues and humanizes the experience beyond the stereotypes of people experiencing homelessness. Cade is an example  (not alone, I’m sure) that had an unfortunate event that led to this part of his life. The idea for the story, Sarah Jio elaborates on in her Author’s Note – not a past love, but someone she knew. The struggle of re-entry into the life before homelessness Kailey feels as if it is her responsibility. The difference between the role of being cared for (with Ryan) and being the caregiver (for Cade) was a topic of conversation as she inevitably chose the harder of the two. Kailey has this epiphany towards the end when she thinks, “(n)o love is perfect. And I suspect there will always be something lonely about my love for Cade. Something regretful, even something sad. An ache never to be soothed” (Jio 262).

To be fair, in comparison with Lorelai with Richard and Emily Gilmore, Kailey was not comfortable in that lifestyle with Ryan, although she truly does love him. This decision allowed us to contemplate what is the right choice and for whom is it the right choice for? Having multiple routes for her to take reminds us of Rory in the Year in the Life Netflix series in where she has some parts of her life that are forgettable (like poor Paul, the man she forgot she was dating the last two years). In the end, those parts that are forgettable in a way contribute to our decisions but also are not meant to be followed in the grand scheme of things.

Overall, a quick read with some aspects that could have been resolved (beauty of imagination!) and natural, realistic themes relating to our beloved Gilmore Girls.

“Have enough courage to treat love one more time and always on more time” ~ Maya Angelou

Here’s to our next Gilmore Girls Book Club pick, The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell! Happy Reading 🙂

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