Beat the Rain: Nigel Jay Cooper
If you stand in the rain or dry to avoid the drops you might find yourself wet, soaked or in a world filled with uncertainty as you sift through the tiny droplets and wonder where each one may fall and how it will affect you. Life can hand you many thunderstorms, hailstones and even short drizzles as these weather conditions can be compared to lives that are filled with sunshine at first, turn cool, then slightly wet and wind up in turbulent storms filled with hailstones and ice that will engulf so many they might never be the same. Louise and Tom had what they thought was a great life or a start to one but then it all disappeared. Do you ever really know what is going to happen in life? Can you predict the changes within others and yourself? Louise had a complete life until Tom died and left her empty and alone. But, there is Adam his twin brother who steps in and does not want to replace Tom but has been sent a letter that gives him the as it puts it the green light to court Louise and take over his life in some respects. Louise watches a DVD that Tom created for her and her anger boils up and her reactions are quite violent leading readers to know that her personality is like a hot water bottle that can burn your skin when first filled and turned your blood ice cold when it cools off.
Part One is titled The Unsaid as we meet Louise, Adam and we learn about their relationship, their feelings about Tom and the title of Part One says it all as Louise wonders why Tom left his true illness and what was happening to him Unsaid. We then have the Interlude that sets the stage for what will come at the end of the book as we hear someone’s voice telling his/her own story about Tom, feelings, reading the same material he read and what about the children?
The second book is title: These Other Things where we get a closer picture with a close up lens of Adam and Louise and their marriage. They live together but yet they really do not see past the visual images and neither one is truly concerned about the other in many respects. Adam has agreed to stay home and take care of the children while she works in her café called Louise. At first all seemed fine and then Louise disappears for a few days but where does she go, who is she with and why doesn’t she seem concerned about her children? Jealousies run high in this novel as we meet Jarvis, Imogen, Alice and John all who have their own flaws and issues. Dealing with them one at a time we meet Imogene who comes to see Adam only to give him serious food for thought about his wife and in the same time complaining about Gavin who we never meet. Imogen finds flaws in everyone and never sees her own. She is probably very insecure and needs to bully and boast in order to feel important. It would have been interesting to see her interact with Gavin her husband. Alice is docile and sweet and Imogen feels the urge to belittle her and anyone else that she feels is weaker than her or powerless. John is Alice’s husband and when together with these others you won’t believe how he deals with Imogen when she attacks his wife.
Louise is sad and feels that Adam is drinking too much and not really attending to her needs and taking care of himself. Yet, he seems to do everything to please her. Communication seems low and instead of expressing their doubts and lack of trust you might say they both harbor it inside and keep their true feelings dormant and quiet. Even at times the children feel the discord and they react as children will. Yet when Louise disappears comes back and at times wonders why the children prefer Adam to her she feels left out, alone and jealous of their feelings for their father and does nothing to change it. She also shares within the novel her relationship with her mother who just left her and father alone and as a teen her father died and then she was alone. Fending for herself if Louise really looked at herself long and hard she would realize she is a survivor. Each character has their flaws. Adam is kind, yet unstable at times, caring for Louise yet over thinks things and situations, plays them out in his mind and what happens helps lead him down a path that might cause him to fall and hard. Both Adam and Louise thing both are both wronged, pass judgment on each other, reflect and feel guilty never admitting their feelings in the true sense of the word. There are many issues that are brought to light in his novel and although there are many losses, few gains and it’s filled with sorrow and grief, there are some high points as well. Louise and Adam have different views on how events unravel as he tells it from his viewpoint expressing the torment within him each time she disappears, goes out and pretends to care and then out of nowhere they mesh again. Adam speaks about how he feels, should he give up and yet finds an attraction to someone else, Louise finds she has feelings for the same person and the end result you won’t believe.
Between each part there are interludes, breaks in the story where the characters reveal something about themselves and something that might happen but has not as yet occurred. When Adam goes to a bar and is befriended by Jarvis and realizes that he is confessing his thoughts to him he does not realize that sometimes chance meetings are not really by chance. Finding him interesting and even more alluring introducing him to Louise greats an interesting Triangle you might say with three sharp angles and very sharp edges. Trust, caring, the willingness to accept someone for who they are, understanding, listening and the desire to make things right, hope and sadness are just some of the messages you get from this novel.
Can you grief for someone and never let go? Can you compare what you have to what will never be? Would you take what you can have and your past and wind them into a wonderful present or will you wallow in pity, think only of yourself and then watch your life uncurl, unravel like a spool of thread that comes apart slowly.
The final two parts are called Interested Others and Falling as we get to know Imogen better, Jarvis, Alice and John as they come together at a dinner party given by Louise and things take an unusual turn as true colors come out, Adam sits back and watches the scene as Imogen might have met her match, Alice might even feel empowered and Louise completes the scene in a unique way. Jarvis is charismatic, smart, befriends Adam and helps him get back in shape. Taking his friendship for something else causes Adam to confront Jarvis, lie to Louise about where he is going as she imagines doing the same, thinking Jarvis and she belong together. Reasoning it out in her own mind as Adam reasons it out in his the end result will shock readers as Jarvis makes a statement at dinner, no one believes him and what happens next lead to part four Falling as many lives go on a one way roller coaster or cyclone ride spiraling down at a speed so fast you wont be able to stop it.
When Adam finally realizes the end result, finds his way out and decides that he and Louise might need to split they both think it might be for the best. But, things do not always play out and the children just might find themselves more alone and in need of help as both Louise and Adam stand to lose more than each other as the author takes us inside the minds of two miscast lovers who found their way to each other because someone wanted them to bond and be together never thinking that sometimes the impossible is just that. Louise meets Jackie O a colorful figure and for some reason confesses her feeling about Adam and her transgressions and realizes that maybe things can work out or maybe not but she might must try. Adam decides after an encounter with Jarvis, and a harsh realization about their relationship comes to light as he learns the truth about Jarvis, why he contacted them and what he hoped to gain. An ending that will shock readers as things change, thoughts become one and Adam and Louise have a decision to make but sometimes it just might be taken out of your hands and rather than getting out of the storm, not getting soaked you might not always be able to avoid or even BEAT THE RAIN! Well told, well crafted and the author takes readers on many emotional rides as Adam and Louise find out the power of both love and the power of loss. How many times can you create perfection in your mind and not realize it does not exist? A story of love, hate, unhappiness and a story that teaches one special lesson to appreciate what you have, communicate your thoughts before it’s too late and the words and the relationship dies before anyone is heard.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine