The Sunshine When She's Gone. Thea Goodman. Holt, Henry & Company, Inc. March 2013. 240 pp. ISBN #: 9780805096620.
Veronica and John Reed are two very, very, very tired parents! Gloria is a typical infant who has quite literally, albeit totally unconscious of her effect, sucked the passion out of her parents. Veronica has post-partum depression and John thinks why not give her a break; yes, a break is just what will help her and perhaps bring backs some zip into their sexless lives.
What starts out as a well-intentioned plan on John's part begins to spin out of control. The reader wishes he would go home when he finds every place where he could dine with his daughter closed. Awe shocks the reader when John on a whim decides to make it a weekend off for Veronica and takes Gloria to Barbados in the Caribbean. Somehow one knows this is going downhill and it does but it's such a valuable time for John who really learns about parenting and his own expectations from both wife and daughter. One has to chuckle as John is getting more and more frantic looking for the "goats milk" that Gloria is used to, with herbs mixed therein, as well as enough diapers, etc. Mr. Dad he is not and it only gets crazier!
Veronica on the other hand goes through several stages upon discovering John's absence. Did he kidnap Gloria? Where the heck is he? Little by little she begins to "use" the time to get in touch with old friends, where conversations and old ways mix with thoughts of her dating, marriage and pregnancy. She even perhaps goes too far with a one-night stand that will have repercussions later on the story. The ensuing confusion is good for her as she needs to sort out what she wanted and what she actually has with John and Gloria.
The eventual reunion is quite stormy and necessary and no it doesn't get weary or stereotypical at all for the reader. It's vital and probably elicits something in every single reader with all the accompanying highs and lows of thoughts and emotions. Their second dedication to each other after making up is even more real and therefore rewarding to enjoy.
What a delightful, simple yet profound tale Thea Goodman tells so artfully! For all parents or parents-to-be or parents whose babes have left the nest, this is a great read! Well done, indeed, Thea Goodman!