Looking For Me is the first novel I've read by Beth Hoffman. This is the type of novel that gives the feeling that I should be enjoying it on the porch of some grand Victorian with a pitcher of sweet tea. I loved this book. Looking For Me definitely put me in touch with the summer's I spent at my great grandmother's home in Mobile, Alabama as a child.
Teddi found her life's calling at the tender age of 11 in the form of a beat up chair discarded along the highway. She took that furniture home, restored it, and then eventually sold it. Teddi grew up on a farm in Kentucky with her mother, father, and younger brother Josh. Leaving behind her family, she embarks upon the journey of owning her own antiques business. But she leaves behind a broken family. A mother who doesn't seem to be happy for her decisions at all. A brother who's leaves without a trace. And a loving father who tries to hold things together all the while having his own skeletons to sort through.
As the book progresses, Teddi narrates seemlessly between the past and present. There are some instances where something mentioned in the present intices her to reflect on the past. These moments help to define Teddi and explain her intense hold on the past and its relics. She refers to herself as a healer in the sense that she takes the most damaged piece of furniture and breaths new life into it. Beth Hoffman supplies us readers with a well developed character who isn't catty or unloveable. Most of the time I wanted to be in Teddy's shop looking at the items she restored and just chatting it up with her.
As much as this novel is heartwarming it is heartbreaking. Teddi's young brother's disappearance and her mother's negativity are the catalyst for much of the tension in this novel. There is a sadness of the loss of her brother that she carries around with her and it oozes from the pages so believeably. And the hope she has is gut-wrenching when the mind is screaming that Josh isn't ever going to be found.
Beth Hoffman's Looking For Me is an exceptional read that I'm sure fans will not want to miss. There are so many quotable passages in this book that I'm sure a highlighter will be necessary for those interested. I recommend this novel to lover's of women's literature, although I do think it's written very smartly in comparison to most "chick lit" out there. Looking For Me is a story of hope, loss, love, guilt, and family. It makes me wonder what stories my old furniture will say about me.****