Cathi Hanauer’s Gone Book Club

Years ago shortly after we had our first child, my husband and I read Cathi Hanuer’s The Bitch in the House and had great belly laughs (while pointing fingers at one another) at her honest writing as well as the writing of others anthologized in the book.  So, while reading Hanauer’s article in Real Simple Magazine, I noticed she had recently published Gone, a novel in which I had not read (in case you were wondering how books find me- chance, mail,  text recommendations in the middle of the night, and inviting covers).
Immediately intrigued by the ideal of a sculptor husband, Eric, up and vanishing with the babysitter one night after a romantic dinner with his wife, Eve, I did not feel hooked, though, until I had reached the vicinity of page 80.  For me, the beginning needed a metaphorical boost of vitamin C with the wife’s reaction to circumstances being a bit too accommodating for belief.  A strong front for the sake of the children is understandable as Eve has always been the one who holds the family together through routine and healthy eating, but as a reader, I yearned for more depth from Eve.
Nevertheless, again, once page 80 was reached, I needed to read on and on through the night so that I could know what eventually happens to this family dynamic.  Hanauer manages to keep the reader in suspense until the near end regarding  whom decides to do what with whom, yet I turned the final page feeling as if I still wanted more- more explanation, more layers, more . . .
As Eve is a nutritionist and her mother-in-law is eating more healthfully after a breast cancer scare, numerous, mouth-watering meals are described in detail.  Perhaps, a bruschetta much like Danny’s would be a nice starter for book club.
Then, perhaps Penelope’s meal of chickpeas, spinach, and tofu sausage (or chorizo for the carnivore).  Finally, a carrot cake with plenty of icing initially meant for a birthday girl, but instead enjoyed by bookies.

Cathi Hanauer

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