Scrap Everything, by Leslie Gould; 320 pages.
Reviewed by Angie Pedersen
“’It feels like everyone else is living their perfectly normal lives while we’re in survival mode, for who knows how long.’ Rebekah hesitated. ‘Patrick said…that he felt God had forgotten us.’
"…‘It’s hard for me to leave this up to God. I wanted my plan to be his plan.’ Rebekah paused. The truth was that she no longer had a plan, no layout in mind, no outfits to match the specially chosen designer paper, no arrangements to create a perfect album.”
How often have you felt something like this – like everyone else’s lives are “normal”, and you can barely keep your head above water? Like if everyone just paid attention and listened to you, everything would work out fine. And how often does that happen? Yeah, I have no idea what “normal” looks
like, either, and I have a hard time letting things just "happen".
These comments sum up one of the central themes of Leslie Gould’s new novel, Scrap Everything. Much of the storyline deals with change, and how different people view it and cope with it. It’s a story of faith, of learning to let go of what you cannot control, and learning to accept
help from others. It’s remarkable how hard a lesson this can be. Perhaps that’s why this particular message hit home for me.
Scrap Everything is the story of two very different women, and their families – how they become involved in each other’s lives, and how they struggle to give and accept help in times of need.
Elise Shelton is an army wife with two teenage sons. With her husband’s retirement from active duty,
she and her family move to her husband’s hometown, a small town in Oregon. She is not excited by the idea of living in “the best little town in the world”, and is relieved by the knowledge that it’s only temporary. In ten months, they plan to move on to Seattle. Which is more than fine with her. She has no intention of settling into life in the small town, and no intention of getting involved.
“Involved” could be Rebekah Graham’s middle name. She throws herself whole-heartedly into every
project, whether it’s scrapbooking, meeting new people, or her home life. We see evidence of her obsessive nature in her thoughts of getting a part-time job or maybe opening a business. A month later, she opens a scrapbooking store.
It's at the scrapbooking store that the two characters meet. At the suggestion of her husband, Elise grudgingly attends the introductory workshop at the store. Elise immediately nicknames Rebekah "Miss
Perky", mentally describing her as speaking "in italics and exclamation points…" Rebekah welcomes her into the store, and essentially into the lives of the other women gathered there. After chatting with her a bit, Rebekah impulsively invites Elise to come horseback riding at her ranch
that weekend, even though she thinks Elise seems "awfully pretentious". She mentally compares Elise to the "popular girls" in middle school. On this note, they begin their relationship.