Veda and her brother Conrad (Connie) are the main characters in a group of five close friends that grew up together. Everyone tip toes around Conrad's constant fighting that began in adolescence, which to me, is the meaning for the title Be Ready for the Lightening. Veda and Conrad's parents ruminate over why Conrad didn't change after high school. The expectation for him to attend university and then get a proper job was shattered when he didn't snap out of it.
Narrator Veda hooks up with one of The Five, Ted, and they fall into a relationship of convenience. She unfortunately spends many years hoping he will become the boyfriend she wants. It's when she becomes a hostage on a New York city bus that the most fascinating part of this book takes place, when she develops character. The interaction between her and the hijacker is unusual.
Hearing Veda describe the disturbing incident that happened to her when she was 12 years old sent a sinking sensation in me. It's a bit too familiar attack that many girls in grade school face. You know, the boy that likes you, the unwanted touching, the assault, and not telling anyone about it, trying to ignore him and what happened. For Veda, her pain went further by lying about her disheveled, dirty state. She felt the need to come up with an excuse, blame herself, as many unfortunately do.
Author Grace O'Connell has interesting descriptions of beautiful women. She said about Sunny that she's "not a pretty woman - a beautiful woman. The kind of beautiful that other women look at twice on the street, stare at with a sort of awed, cowed crushed feeling, with a sudden realization that they were not themselves beautiful, because here was beautiful."
Sunny & Annie upon meeting each other: they "eyed each other in the quick, appraising way that beautiful women do, to see who is the better looking of the two and who is therefore dominant."
I did wonder why Conrad's childhood bike accident resulting in a concussion was never mentioned as a possible cause for his rages. I kept expecting it to be brought up again, as it was early head trauma.
Certainly a different novel, Be Ready for the Lightening left me wishing Conrad would have told his story though.
I received Be Ready for the Lightening in a GoodReads giveaway.
Until next time,