Book Review – The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett

What a unique gem of a book!!!

An angry, bitter amputee. 
An optimist losing her eyesight. 
A dying kid. 
A suicidal thief. 
Four people with nothing in common but their destination. 

Despite having narrowly escaped death’s clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It’s only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life. 
What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again… can he learn to love again? 
He’s about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can’t decide whether she wants to live or die. 
They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love. 
And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all. 
The hard truth about sunshine… 

Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.

Expected publication: March 28th 2017

Going into this book I already knew that it would be different. Very different from all the other Sawyer Bennett books. But it was so much more different than I could have had imagined.

The Hard Truth About Sunshine was an unique story about

hope,

death,

love,

and loss.

Everyone of the four main characters had experienced some kind of event that shaped them early on.

Christopher lost his lower leg and part of his hand in Afghanistan.

Jillian lost her sister when she was a teen and was gradually losing her eyesight.

Connor was terminally ill and had only a few more months to live.

And Barb, survived sexual abuse just to wish she was dead instead.

All four characters met at a support group for people that battled with traumatic stress and depression. When their councilor suggested for them to go on a road trip they were forced to spent many hours in the car, and slowly started to open up.

Christopher, was a bitter former soldier, hating everyone and regretting his life choices.

Jillian, a sunny and positive influence, nurturing, and optimistic.

Connor, incredibly mature and wise for his age.

Barb, a shell of her former self, lost in painful memories and giving up on life. 

The book was written in Christopher’s POV and it delved much deeper into his psyche than anyone else’s. He was bitter, standoffish and a jerk. He didn’t want to care about anything or anyone. He lost faith in people and just wanted to be left alone.

Jillian found him rather interesting and was drawn to him even so he did everything to discourage her. But her tenacity and positive nature finally broke trough his walls. Her bright and hopeful outlook drew Christopher to her like a moth to a flame.

Jillian was a glass half full kind of person. She saw the best in people, life and situations especially those that were out of anyone’s control. Jillian found a way to make Christopher see the beauty in life and all around them. She gave him the will power not to  give up by showing him to see sunshine instead of clouds.

Their dynamic was heart-warming and sweet. I loved how much power Jillian had over Christopher. He was a typically alpha male that was putty in his female’s hands.

As much as I loved Christopher and Jillian, I equally adored Barb and Connor. The entire cast was incredibly unique and complex. The group but especially Connor and Barb tugged at my heartstrings. It was emotionally crushing to read about those two. They were all so young, and life hadn’t been kind to any of them.

So much tragedy on such young shoulders. 

The storyline was poignant but also uplifting. I didn’t feel crushed at the end, more like hopeful and feeling satisfied in the best of ways.

Sawyer Bennett wrote a story that strongly resonated with me and evoked powerful and long-lasting impressions. This book certainly reminded me that my “problems” were nothing compared to what other people had to endure. It’s good to be reminded of that now and then.

ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review.

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