August 15, 2007
Mad Dash by Patricia Gaffney
Finished on 8/13/07
Rating: 3.5 (Good)
The poor thing was cold and trembling, abandoned on their front doorstep. Dash, impulsive as always, decides on the spot that they should keep it. But her husband, Andrew, thinks it’s the craziest thing he’s ever heard. A fight over a scruffy little dog doesn’t seem like much of a reason to walk out on your husband of twenty years—but the spat over the puppy is just the last of many straws.
Dash is so tired of the faculty parties at Mason-Dixon College that Andrew insists they attend even though he won’t mingle with his colleagues, tired of his constant fretting over illnesses he doesn’t have, tired of the glass of warm milk he must have every night before bed. Why can’t he see that with her mother gone and their daughter off at college, Dash needs something more?
Now, living on her own for the first time in years, Dash can do whatever she wants . . . if only she could figure out what that is. But every time she starts making plans for the future, she finds herself thinking about the past—remembering the mother she’s lost, her daughter’s childhood, and the husband she isn’t entirely sure she wants to leave behind. . . .
By turns poignant and hilarious—often on the same page—Mad Dash is a novel about the funny ways love has of catching up to us despite our most irrational efforts to leave it behind.
It's been few years since I've read anything by Patricia Gaffney. I discovered her debut novel, The Saving Graces, in August 1999. Reminiscent of Elizabeth Berg's Talk Before Sleep, I admired the strength of friendship between the four women, eagerly adding Gaffney to my "must read" author list. A year later, I gulped down Circle of Three, the mother-daughter relationship resonating so effectively with this mother of a then-16-year-old, that I felt a kindred spirit in Gaffney. I was a bit disappointed with her more recent novels (Flight Lessons and The Goodbye Summer), both of which left such eminently forgettable impressions, I had to refresh my memory with the publisher blurbs on Amazon. When Mad Dash appeared on the New Release shelf at the library I thought, why not? It's still summer and summertime is the perfect time for fluff. And that's pretty much what I got. I do have to disagree with Janet Evanovich, Kristen Hannah, Jennifer Cruise, and Elizabeth Buchan, all of whom wrote advance praise blurbs for the back cover. This was not "laugh-out-loud funny," nor was it "poignant" or "witty" or "inspiring." There's nothing deep or thought-provoking about Gaffney's prose. Just pure and simple entertainment. A nice "beach read." Nothing more. One that was worth checking out from the library, but certainly not $23 for the hardcover.