Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Running Against Traffic by Gaelen VanDenbergh

Title: Running Against Traffic
Author: Gaelen VanDenbergh

Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc

Published Date: February 15, 2013

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

Author Website: http://gaelenvandenbergh.com/home/



Paige Scott spent her childhood shuffled between relatives who ignored her, and her adult life hiding in her crumbling marriage to wealthy David Davenport. When David suddenly thrusts her into a remote, impoverished world, Paige is forced to face the betrayals of her past - not to mention the colorful townies of her present. Unexpected friendships and her discovery of running propel her on a jagged and comical journey toward learning how to truly live.
My Thoughts:

Running Against Traffic, by Gaelen VanDenbergh, is a witty and sarcastic novel focusing on the worst (or maybe best?) year of Paige Scott's life as she begins a journey of self-discovery.  Materialistic Paige lives in a world that includes a rich husband, a swanky home, and more money than she knows what to do with.  Her days revolve around ignoring her husband David, relaxing at the spa, shopping for things that she does not need, and then ends with dinner and drinks with said husband and other elite members in her social circle.  Not wanting anything more or anything less, Paige is content with her vapid lifestyle. 

Unfortunately, Paige's world is turned upside down when her husband dumps her in the middle of nowhere at a dilapidated house that he announces is now hers to do with as she pleases.  With a quick speech saying they are over and feel free to date, he quickly peaces out and leaves her stranded with nothing more than the crumbling house's keys, her luggage, cell phone, and a debit card to a local bank.  Paige slowly realizes that her husband is not playing a joke on her and that she is truly without anyone for the first time in her life.  After a week of stewing in her own misery and eating the food that David had stocked in the falling apart and outdated kitchen, Paige snaps to her sense and realizes that she needs to wander into the little town for more food and to figure out just what she is going to do.

Paige soon finds herself under the wings of Deirdre, the town mother hen whom everyone can count on for food, advice, and comfort.  Slowly placing a plan in place, Paige learns that she does not have enough money to hire a divorce attorney so accepts a job as the secretary of the town lawyer in exchange for his legal services and a small salary.  Paige also realizes that there is not enough money in the bank account that David left her to hire someone to fix up her house AND to keep herself alive.  Not having any other option, Paige allows sexy Al, a contractor, and his younger friend Bryce (preferred to be called Starfire) to take the two guest rooms in exchange for labor.  And so begins Paige's new life.

In Running Against Traffic, Paige must go on a personal journey in order to discover just who she is before she can become whole and find happiness.  With quirky new friends, Paige slowly begins the process of beginning again in Wells Lake.  She must find both her self confidence and self worth.  Also, Paige sadly realizes that she has no hobbies, her former empty life was full of drinking top shelf liquor and socializing with women she didn't like.  Trying to piece together who she thinks she is, Paige unknowingly starts a Wells Lake Running Club and begins to grow a green thumb as she embraces growing a garden.  Paige takes Deirdre's advice of faking a smile seriously as she finds herself fitting into Wells Lake and growing close to her new set of peers.

I absolutely LOVED VanDenbergh's Running Against Traffic.  It has an original plot, spunky dialogue, and great characters that sprung to life with each page.  VanDenbergh's characters are very realistic with their own flaws.  I believe Bryce was one of my favorite characters.  Born to a young drug addict mother, Bryce grew up to be a troubled young man.  Turning to drugs and alcohol for peace, entertainment, and everything in between, Bryce at times finds himself hooking for money.  Seeing a kindred spirit in Paige, Bryce is able to open up to her and allows her to try and help him face his demons.  

If you are looking for a great summer read, Gaelen VanDenbergh's novel, Running Against Traffic, is definitely the book for you.  You will find yourself rooting for Paige and her friends as they face the hardships that life throws their way head-on.  I dare you to try and put this book down! 

Gaelen VanDenbergh
The author has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, Running Against Traffic, for the purpose of review.

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