“If you just read one book this year, read How to Walk Away.” — Nina George
Margaret Jacobsen has a plan. She has worked tirelessly to be able to check things off of her to-do list: from graduating with Honours and applying for her dream job, to falling in love with Chip, her dream man. Everything is going the way it is supposed to, and Margaret couldn’t be happier. One thing Margaret has never been able to get over is her fear of flying. Ironically enough, Chip is just about to get his pilot’s license in hopes of helping Margaret overcome her fear. Margaret has a feeling, that it’s time: Chip is going to propose to her on this big date he has planned. She goes along with all of his surprises in hopes of that magical moment, including getting into a plane with him in the driver’s seat, in other words, facing her worst fear to be with the man she loves.
On what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of her life, everything is taken away from her when the plane goes down and catches on fire. The next thing she knows, she is in a hospital room, and her life changes forever.
Margaret learns that life is not just about receiving the best grades, marrying the perfect man, and having all of the riches of the world. Without her health, she has nothing, and for the first time in her life, Margaret has nothing.
Losing the ability to walk, Margaret has to relearn how to do the simplest motions that she never had to put much thought into before. She has to relearn how to love herself, how to be herself, and how she can possibly move forward in her life.
Chip, feeling extremely guilty, completely loses himself in his grief and becomes a man that Margaret does not recognise. Instead of being by her side, in sickness and in health, he is at the bar, drinking his pain away, leaving her alone in hers. When she breaks off the engagement, she feels both pain and hope.
Margaret is drawn to Ian, the angry physical therapist who pushes his patients to work hard and helps them achieve great results. He’s also great looking and Margaret can’t help but notice. Love is not about perfection, and Margaret finds love where she least expects it.
This is a brilliant story of suffering, pain, acceptance and growth. I loved it so much. It was a story that would help you be more grateful for all that you have, and remind you to accept all that you do not. Plans change instantly, which is never a part of your plan. The best thing you can do is to find a way to accept it, and adjust your life. Find a way to do it happily. I think a lot of us can relate to Margaret’s story in so many different ways, but that’s the entire point of this book. There are all kinds of happy endings.
“That’s what we try to do — counterbalance the suffering with laughter, fuzzy blankets, hugs, sing-alongs, sunny-day picnics, chocolate chip cookies and wildflowers. Because that’s all we can do: carry the sorrow when we have to, and absolutely savour the joy when we can. Life is always, always both.”