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Being Anti Social: Leigh K. Cunningham
Mace Evans is considered anti-social. Her family and friends feel that she never enjoys the company of others. Defining who you are takes perspective, ingenuity, creativity and of course total honesty. Facing yourself in the mirror and taking a pad and pencil to write down what you see might be a unique way to start. Some of us enjoy the company of family and friends while others prefer their own company and limited interaction with others.
Mace Evans is about to impart her story to readers. Told in the first person from her own point of view and perspective you hear her voice, concerns, feelings and opinions loud and clear as author Leigh K. Cunningham explains just what it means to be anti-social and much more. With her story there are many layers that need to be peeled away in order to find the real Mace. Mace as her sister Shannon states is definitely anti-social. She does not deny it. Stating that she does not like to engage in social activities, “ an unwillingness or inability to associate in normal or friendly ways with other people,” are just some of the definitions attributed to Mace. Mace seems to feel like the center of a cookie with all of the frosting glued to the sides of the top and bottom of the outer pieces. The fourth child out of five felt feels sandwiched in and her few seconds of glory when she was born overshadowed by her sister Shannon her mother’s clone. But, she is not devoid of friends although upon reflection you learn they are not your typical bunch. As she continues to allow the reader to learn more about her life and herself she explains about her failed marriage, her deep regret for cheating on Ben, her casual affairs, the reason behind the breakup and her hope to find someone else. Mace continues with a full description of her family unit describing each sibling and parent in vivid detail so that by the time she finishes you feel as if you would know each one when they entered a room. She also includes a detailed account of the lives of her friends, which might appear rosy, or one way on the outside but definitely not when you look closer. As you hear Mace and listen to her speak you realize that she is smart, astute, sarcastic, angry and alone. Even defining her friends and their relationships shows another side of her, as she feels possessive of her friend Kimba and betrayed when she marries Kenneth. Her mother, the one person she thinks does not really approve of her will show a different side before all is said and done. Mace feels that no matter what she does it is never right so why try and why adhere to the rules set out in the Evans family. Yet, in many ways just attending the mandatory family events she adheres to her mother’s wishes and attempts to fit in. One mother who on the surface appears to favor the other four children yet Mace does not see what is right in front of her.
Tragedy strikes and her mother is diagnosed with cancer and her whole world and her entire family’s changes. The dynamics of their relationship will change if she can try to reconnect with her in any way before it is too late. Mace is the Director of Finance for a corporation who dislikes her co-workers immensely to the point that they only communicate with her by e-mail. The one person who seems to understand her and respect her is her secretary. Rachel seems to know how to get along with Mace and the one things Mace does is appreciate this woman. Next, we meet several of her colleagues and one man named Thomas who gives new meaning to underhanded and sneaky.
As her mother has a short remission the family rallies together to support her and spend as much time with her as possible. New romances bloom as sister Lauren meets Patrick and a wedding might definitely be in the air. From girls night out which proves interesting, humorous and definitely filled with drinking, men and gossip these five women although different manage to bond, stand together and work through many difficult situations. From Sophie whose marriage is rocky, to Amber who can’t seem to find a right guy, to Erin who wants to become a writer and a group of friends she asks to review her new book. Kimba who loses a child and Mace who found a younger man, just where will all five wind up when all is finally said and done and will their friendships last?
When her mother passes away all the regrets pour out and then a letter written to Mace reveals the hidden truth behind her mother’s feelings for her. Sometimes parents back off when they want their children to blossom on their own and grow. Sometimes what appears as not caring is a parent’s way of not feeling unwanted. The spirit that Mace had and the feelings that her mother expresses to her in her final words in this letter will bring tears to your eyes. Feeling that she never wanted her attention and her sister Lauren needed it, her mother felt left out. When she saw her with her father and how much she loved being with him, she was glad she adored him yet hurt she never felt that way about her. Sometimes words come too late and feelings are buried along with the person. Just how Mace reacts to this letter and will she make an effort to be closer to her family remains to be seen. The whole in your heart when you lose a parent never heals, as I know since losing my mom last year. The memories you have together and the pictures are precious but the lost time together and the angry words can never be taken back or wiped away. Will Mace reconnect before it’s too late?
Although she might not be close to everyone in her family, she and her brother Jason seem to understand each other, she adores her friends, hates her monthly board meetings and is determined to live her life her way. Loyal to her family in many ways as she attends the mandatory family dinners, parties and events and finds time to care for her mom before she passes away. This is one family that might seem dysfunctional yet her mother seemed to make them come together at all costs. Just how this affects her father you will have to learn for yourself.
What is the final fate for Mace and will she ever find another Ben? That still remains to be seen. She has many short romances and one that she might want to pursue but that might be for another book and a later time. So, what if she wants to stay home with her chocolate, merlot and pizza and read a good book. So what if she wants her own space and needs only her own company. So what is she just wants to live her own life her way and not be a carbon copy of anyone else. What if she is headstrong, honest to a fault and definitely a true blue friend who comes to the rescue when needed? Her life she says “ is a river coursing its way through the landscape. At times, it slows to a mere trickle and other times it breaks its banks and floods green pastures.” Mace Evans is unique and wants to be accepted for who she is not who others want her to be. She is definitely someone you want in your corner as a friend. With the help of her four friends, her bottle of merlot, pizza and chocolate and let’s not forget her life coach and mentor whose sayings she quotes throughout this book, Oscar Wilde, Mace recovers to a small degree but hopes to find the reasons why people and even she defines herself as Being Anti-Social. What does life have in store for Mace? Author Leigh K. Cunningham is the only one that knows the answer to that question and hopefully she will bring this cast of characters and Mace back again to find out the answer. Vividly described in detail, situations that will make you laugh and cry this novel asks the question: Just what does being Anti-Social Mean and is it okay to be that way?
Fran Lewis: reviewer