Book review: 'A Way Back to You' offers a lesson in 2nd chances

By Angela Carter

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, July 7 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

"A WAY BACK TO YOU," by Emily Clay Clawson, Deseret Book, $16.99, 199 pages (f)

Two and a half years after her husband's death, Annie is struggling to raise three children on her own, not to mention battling grief that still has a tight grip on her heart. Seeing right through the mask of normalcy Annie wears, a neighbor offers to take the kids for a weekend so Annie can get some much-needed R&R.

That night, Annie falls asleep as a 38-year-old woman. But the next morning she wakes up as a 16-year-old, forced to relive the worst period of her teenage years.

Utah native Emily Gray Clawson tells a unique story about second chances in her new novel, "A Way Back to You." As a middle-aged woman in a teenager's body, Annie has an opportunity to right some of the wrongs she made in the past, and, most importantly, see her husband Mitch again, who has just returned from serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Annie wonders how much can she change without risking the future she has with Mitch and her three children. And then, there is Sam, the boy she was in love with in high school.

Though unable to summon the knowledge required to pass algebra and chemistry, Annie knows that one conversation, one kind deed, could be enough to change not only her own life, but the lives of others as well. "A Way Back to You" is an enjoyable read that is perfect for an LDS audience, whether you're 16 or 38.

"A Way Back to You " is a lighthearted read, but also has deeper thought-provoking themes. It covers some difficult topics like death and heartbreak, but it's a powerful reminder that small efforts, small changes can have a huge effect on someone's life.

It's free of any foul language, sexual innuendo, but does have a character's plea for attention by planning a suicide, mentions of another character's abusive marriage and allusions to past violence.

Clawson is the author of "Things Hoped For" and is collaborating with Jennifer Graves on a book titled "A Sister's Witness: The Powell Family Tragedy." Clawson studied vocal performance in college, which is apparent in this novel, as two of the main characters are musicians. Clawson lives with her husband and four children in Taylorsville.

A graduate of Brigham Young University, Angela Carter is a writer, editor and overall lover of words. She blogs at palydudeman.blogspot.com.

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