Is it sci-fi, fantasy, or even just contemporary fiction? I don’t know. But I DO know that this book is ONE very important thing. Emotion. And I’m absolutely here for it.
What would you do if you woke up in the hospital and were told that the last five years of your life were one big lie. Not just that someone had lied to you about something important. No, much more severe than that. Everything from the last five years, you are told, has been nothing but a figment of your imagination and wasn’t real. The doctors tell you that it’s a common occurrence after a traumatic brain injury or from traumatic life events. Our brains are pretty magnificent and can create extremely vivid memories that are nothing more than a day dream.
But you can still recall EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of that previous life. Your child, who they say never existed, is so vivid in your mind that you remember the way they smelled after playing in the back yard of the house that also no longer exists. Details that are impossible to have simply imagined. Yet you find yourself in a “new life” where everyone thinks you are just sick or mentally ill and while there are people you recognize, everything is different. Too many people are involved for it to be a situation where you are being gaslit into believing the life you remember never happened… or maybe everyone IS in on it.
You find yourself remembering two different lives, now unsure if you are losing your mind or if there is indeed something more sinister at play.
This is the idea behind A Day Like This by Kelley McNeil.
Through well written characters that bleed emotion onto every page, we are gifted a heart-wrenching yet hopeful story in which Annie Beyers fights to get back what she seems to have lost in the car accident. There is the ever present feeling of panic and helplessness as we are drawn further down into the mystery with Annie, a longing for her lost family, and the ultimate confusion and desperation as she tries to come to grips with her “new” situation.
However, under the suspense and mystery, is also a beautiful story of humanity and hope. A feeling of learning to understand on a deeper level all that is truly important to us, to Annie, when it comes to this one way journey through life. While they are two very different stories, I couldn’t help but think of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig as I read this book. As much as I enjoyed The Midnight Library, it was VERY heavy handed in it’s message of learning to find your joy in life through the understanding of what is truly important to you. What McNeil has done with A Day Like This is taken that similar message and wrapped it in a much more subtle package. Frankly it’s everything I WISH The Midnight Library had been. There is never a moment where I felt like I was being beaten over the head with the messaging, instead I was totally absorbed in the story and the sheer emotional power of Annie’s tale.
If you enjoy a good mystery with TONS of emotional power and just a hint of fantasy and sci-fi flavor, I highly recommend you check out the beauty that Kelley McNeil has gifted us in A Day Like This.
A Day Like This by Kelley McNeil gets 5/5 Stars