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Bridging the Gap

de Kevin Johnson

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Eric Walters isn't exactly living his best life. He works in the IT department of a hospital, where he begrudgingly interacts with his coworkers while counting the minutes until his next break. He's stuck in a rut and oblivious to nearly everything around him, which frustrates no one more than his best friend, Sara. Eric's routine is interrupted by a mysterious, silent little boy, triggering a chain of events that force Eric out of his bubble. He soon realizes nothing is as he believed: not his job, not his boss, and certainly not his relationship with Sara. When Sara draws away from him, he worries his realization has come too late and struggles to find a way to make things right. As he pieces together his plan for redemption, he learns Sara is in the path of a devastating tragedy that could take her away from him forever.… (més)
Afegit fa poc perWildRosePress, angiestahl
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This book was a very pleasant surprise!

Everywhere and every time I travel, I try to visit and support a local bookshop and/or author. I bought Bridging the Gap at Bookish in Fort Smith, AR knowing nothing about it or the author except what I read on the back cover.

Though it's not required to enjoy the story, it helps if you have a connection to Fort Smith / OK as the backdrop of the story is sort of a love story to the area. There's also a nod to the Oklahoma I-40 bridge collapse in 2002 that took the lives of 14 people woven into the story.

Without spoiling the book, a few reactions and teasers to help you decide whether this book might be you:

- The entire story unfolds over a few days in May 2002.
- It involves two people - Eric and Sara - who've been close friends since college and who now are working in their first 'real' jobs in the healthcare industry and living in Fort Smith, AR. Eric works in IT; Sara is a clinical researcher and their company may soon be announcing layoffs.
- The plot follows them as they navigate their relationship, friendships with coworkers, and their jobs while figuring out what matters to them and how to navigate adulthood.

For most of the book, Eric is annoyingly immature making it hard to see what Sara sees in him. He's incredibly shallow and self-centered, but he grew - on me and as a person. Sara is a strong, female character who has her own life, but also serves as Eric's conscience.

There are other characters - Eric's boss (who he thinks is a tool), his office crush (who barely acknowledges him), his cube mate (who mostly annoys him), Sara's boss (who seems out to fire her), a woman who Sara wants to get into a research study and her son, all of which play important supporting roles.

I had no expectations for what this story would be like or where it would take me, but felt invested in these people and seeing how it all turned out. The locality and local history brought the area to life. All in all, enjoyed and recommended! This one is especially one to try if:

- you're from Arkansas or eastern Oklahoma or have ties to/affinity with this region
- you'd appreciate IT, clinical research, healthcare settings
- you're 30-something, trying to navigate post-college adulting and relationships
- you remember the I-40 bridge collapse and want to honor the memory of that in a respectful way

Is it perfectly written? No. But it's well-written enough and its authenticity is clear.

I love when small presses give local authors get a chance to get published and build a community of fans through local bookshops. There are so many books vying for time and attention and sometimes the ones with the big authors or big marketing budgets are less of a find than the quiet gems. IMO, this is one of the latter. ( )
  angiestahl | Jun 24, 2019 |
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Eric Walters isn't exactly living his best life. He works in the IT department of a hospital, where he begrudgingly interacts with his coworkers while counting the minutes until his next break. He's stuck in a rut and oblivious to nearly everything around him, which frustrates no one more than his best friend, Sara. Eric's routine is interrupted by a mysterious, silent little boy, triggering a chain of events that force Eric out of his bubble. He soon realizes nothing is as he believed: not his job, not his boss, and certainly not his relationship with Sara. When Sara draws away from him, he worries his realization has come too late and struggles to find a way to make things right. As he pieces together his plan for redemption, he learns Sara is in the path of a devastating tragedy that could take her away from him forever.

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