A powerful, vibrant novel about the life-changing weekend shared between two strangers, from the award-winning writer Roxane Gay calls "a consummate storyteller." On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing at the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett. Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. What she doesn't realize is that Emmett isn't the only one who needs healing--and they both are harboring secrets. Alternating between Tallie and Emmett's perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge's edge--as well as the hard truths Tallie has been grappling with since her marriage ended--This Close to Okay is an uplifting, cathartic story about chance encounters, hope found in unlikely moments, and the subtle magic of human connection. Longlisted for the 2022 Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award
Longlisted for the Goodreads Choice Awards
Book of the Month December Pick
Good Housekeeping Book Club February Pick
Marie Claire Book Club March Pick
Most Anticipated by Elle, Today (according to Goodreads), The Millions, She Reads, and Real Simple
Recommended by Refinery29, Shondaland, Oprah Daily, Washington Post, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Electric Literature, Bookriot, Parade, Harper's Bazaar, and more
- ISBN-13: 9781538715376
- ISBN-10: 1538715376
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
- Publish Date: February 2021
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Page Count: 320
This Close to Okay
Set in author Leesa Cross-Smith’s native Kentucky, This Close to Okay is the story of two strangers coming together to sort out their fears and disappointments.
While driving home from work one rainy October evening, Tallie Clark, 40 and divorced, spots a man preparing to jump from a bridge. A therapist by trade, she doesn’t hesitate before rushing out of her car, ignoring the traffic and the rain, to dissuade the man from jumping. Thankfully Tallie’s bravado in approaching the stranger catches him off guard and delays him long enough that he agrees to back off and get a cup of coffee with her. He won’t reveal his name or much else, but that doesn’t stop Tallie from inviting him to her home to spend the night.
The morning comes, and with it a kind of comfort and thankfulness that allows soft-spoken Emmett to reveal to Tallie not only his name but also the pain that brought him to the bridge. Tallie, though she seems perfectly put-together, isn’t any less heartbroken than Emmett. The two start sharing their deepest feelings with each other, making their chance encounter extend into a whole weekend together. Interestingly enough, their revelations don’t include the basic details that Tallie is a therapist or that Emmett has a pretty sketchy public profile. Both are still afraid on some level to completely reveal their identities.
Cross-Smith places mental health at the heart of this story, bringing attention to the importance of asking for help when navigating the complicated twists and turns of life. This Close to Okay is a fast-moving, drama-filled roller coaster that will keep you guessing about how things will turn out for these two lost souls.