Janet DeLee’s latest book, Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts, is a delightful, pleasant read that takes regular people going through regular things (and some…) growing through the process and ending up in a better place because of it. In short, it is a story that will resonate with many, if not all readers.
I picked this book up for two reasons. The first is that I love this type of story (regular people, regular things, growth ensues), which is what the “Ideal Life Club”, started by the main protagonist in this book, is all about. I also love a good ghost story that is less of the frightening sort and more of the mysterious, introspective kind which is the paranormal flavour added to the story by mysterious on-goings the characters have to face.
I feel like there is a great need for stories that inspire us to arise and become better in ways that readers can easily implement themselves. The character of Ginny takes her own future firmly in her hands; needing the support of a group to take a leap and build her own ideal life, she places an ad in the paper and created a group she calls the “Ideal Life Club”. Even better is how Ginny is your every day, fifty something year old woman that you just might have already met or will become. In Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts then can be found a concrete idea many readers can immediately put into practice should they so be inspired.
What makes the story even more approachable is how diverse the members of the “Ideal Life Club” are. From a young man struggling with stage fright to an middle aged woman struggling to start her dream career, a variety of fears and obstacles that typical stand in the way of accomplishing great feats are covered. This makes for quite a few central characters as well as a number of supporting ones, but as they are all engaging, a connection is quickly made between them and the reader. They all manage to somehow resonate, as they are either like us or like someone we know.
DeLee’s writing was for the most part good. There is still some work to be done in order to iron out the flow and shave down some of the heavier sections of the text, but the story still gets told and told well. The dialog is for the most part engaging although sometimes it can be long winded; but because the content is interesting, it’s another flaw easy to gloss over.
One of the main strengths of the book lies in its structure, which both makes it easy to follow to story line as well as delve into the overlapping struggles of the main characters. One chapter is dedicated to a meeting of the “Ideal Life Club” and is followed by a couple of chapters that each delve into one character’s struggle. There is just enough information to make us appreciate what they are going through without inundating us with information.
Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts shows the capacity of an author to craft inspiring, honest, authentic stories that resonate with those of us who do not feed on drama as typically defined in mainstream media. It’s a great refuge to lose yourself in and emerge feeling inspired to make a change in your own life.
More information about the author is available on her Facebook page.