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The Ramblers: an emotional non-review

February 3, 2016
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Photo snagged from Indie Bound

I have this book, The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelly Rowley, that I haven’t finished yet, but I feel okay to write a blog post about it because it’s not really about the finished book, though it is. It’s about the physical book itself and what it has meant to me.

Is this weird? Maybe. Sentimental? Definitely.

Being a new parent is hard. It’s hard in a way that is indescribable until you’re in it. It’s like having a new puppy, but not at all. The stakes are higher.

There are so many nights when you are up every few hours to feed or hold or comfort your child. Those nights can be especially dark. In my case, our son wouldn’t take a bottle so it was all me, all the time. I would watch my husband snoring peacefully and want to dump a bucket of ice water on his face, how dare he dream.

I know people will frown, but truthfully, many of these late night feeding sessions involved sliding through social media to stay awake. We do what we must. Usually around 1 or 2 a.m. I’d be on instagram and a picture would pop up. Always a coffee, a computer, and words. Sometimes a candle, sometimes a window. I came to rely on that little light of consistency to get me through the longest, darkest hours.

I was fully aware of what it meant to me in those moments, but was still surprised by the lurch in my heart when I saw that those words, collected had become a real life, tangible book so many months later.

I’m not generally a pre-orderer, I’m impatient, and I like going to the bookstore when new books come out, but this time I had to. I needed to know that the second it became available it would be in my mailbox. And so it will.


I got an early copy! It arrived in my mailbox two days ago and as I ripped off the envelope there were tears in my eyes. This “thing”, this object that represented so much was in my hands.

Then I panicked. What if I don’t like it? What if I don’t like anything? I haven’t been able to get into a book since the beginning of January, maybe I should wait. Yes. I better wait. But I can’t.

And so I didn’t.

As soon as Eli was asleep I settled myself on the couch and cracked the book and read. And read. Andreadandreadandreadandread. I was able to invest. I was in it. IN. IT. It was glorious and oh so necessary. I don’t do well when I’m not invested in a book, it’s not good for me. This was a godsend.

I had to post on twitter because it was 100% true:

When you start reading a book and you have to put it down to say “holy fucking shit I needed this” out loud.

Today is wednesday. I had to fast all night and go in for a three hour test this morning. I brought my usual: journal, homemade planner, and current book. I planned to break it up and spend an hour with each.

I started with The Ramblers and didn’t pick up anything else I brought. I spent three what could have been painful and boring hours immersed in this world. I could breathe.

For me, personally, this is an important book. I may even become superstitious about carrying it everywhere. From its inception it has been exactly what I needed when I needed it.

Also, so far, it’s a really really great book. I keep forgetting that the characters are not real people* and that this all came from someone’s brain. Masterful, I tell ya. Get it, read it, tell me your thoughts.

*Especially Smith, because I know a girl named Smith who looks nothing like the character but it throws me a little anyway. 🙂

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