Enjoy this review from Elaine on Goodreads about Spare Change!
Elaine reviews Spare Change – Reader Salute
Turn off your cell phone and butter up some popcorn when you read Spare Change because you’re reading a book you’ll swear some studio has already bought the rights to turn into a movie. I admit, I’m drawn to southern characters and southern tales and Ms. Crosby has cooked up a good one in Spare Change. The characters are fully developed and layered with endearing traits, annoying habits and the right amount of quirkiness. They were so real, I wanted to sit in a booth next to them just to eavesdrop on their conversations you’ll be sure they’re having outside the book’s narrative.
Olivia Westerly is a confirmed bachelorette in an era when women aspired to marriage versus a career. Marriage means children and children mean emotional imprisonment. Olivia passes judgment on motherhood as she describes the birth of a friend’s child as having “added another one to her litter” and the baby as “howling like a banshee”” and how all the children “suck on her like so many leaches”. Ms. Crosby puts the reader in the mind of the characters in such a way that although we may not see the world the same way as her characters, the reader will certainly find her characters believable. The dialogue is refreshing, as well. Many writers struggle with bringing a voice to their characters through effective dialogue, but not Ms. Crosby. It is another hidden gem in this thoroughly enjoyable tale.
When Olivia is past childbearing years, she allows herself to fall hopelessly and deeply in love with Charlie Doyle. But their life together is not destined to be long one. When he passes suddenly, he unexpectedly leaves her with his young grandson. Except Olivia doesn’t know it, because besides her own story, there is another story unfolding which will soon bring together the lives of a young boy and an older woman who never wanted children.
Ethan Allen Doyle grew up in a combative household with a father who could be cruel and a mother so self absorbed and resentful of her life she couldn’t nurture him. The boy is a survivor who is both wise and naïve. Without some positive change to the trajectory of his life, you sense he will end up living the same sad life his parents do. When he runs away from home under tragic circumstances, he ends up on the doorstep of Olivia Westerly Doyle. The reason he is there and the ensuing drama bring a touch of suspense to this southern read.
Spare Change is a book about transformation, most notably Ethan’s and Olivia’s. But there are also the characters surrounding them who are transformed. I especially love the eclectic group of elderly neighbors living in the same apartment building as Olivia. They not only change the apartment building’s rules to accommodate a boy and his dog but to embrace and protect him. The rascally young boy changes them, as much as, their influence and the influence of his adopted grandmother Olivia, who never a desire to raise a child, changes him.
Word of advice, if this ever makes it to the big screen, bring tissues to the movie theater. At the end, I found myself brushing back my tears. Meanwhile, you can catch all of the action on your Kindle or in paperback.