I loved Meg Mitchell Moore's book The Arrivals when it was published last year. Loved it. I was excited to see another novel by this author coming out this past spring. So Far Away, Moore's latest book, consumed my weekend (at least the part of it that wasn't taken up with cleaning and painting and organizing).
Kathleen Lynch is a librarian, an archivist, to be more precise. Widowed and estranged from her daughter she has little to occupy her time aside from work and her dog, Lucy. When 13 year old Natalie Gallagher shows up needing Kathleen's help with a school project, the two begin a relationship that could benefit them both.
Natalie is being bullied by her ex-best friend an another girl- both who use cyberbullying as their method to inflict pain. Her parents are separated, and while her dad seems excited by his new girlfriend and oblivious to Natalie's pain, her mother is medicating herself and sinking deeper into depression.
The one bright spot is Natalie's project. She has come across an old notebook in her basement and becomes engrossed with the story Bridget O'Connell tells of her life many decades ago. Kathleen is also engrossed by this diary, and although the two work separately on it, are bound together by Bridget's story.
Although Kathleen makes a few missteps, her intentions in wanting to help Natalie are honest, and both learn and grow from their relationship.
While I'm not one to enjoy a story within a story, Bridget's narrative was surprisingly interesting and something I didn't mind having within a book about Kathleen and Natalie. Moore has a knack for making her characters seem real and believable, and I found myself enjoying reading both stories.