Tully Makker is a survivor. She survives her father's abandonment at the age of 7. She survives her uncle's "attentions" at the age of 12. She survives her mother's abusive hands throughout her childhood and adolescence. Her best friend's betrayal in her senior year of high school is the hardest for Tully to survive. She survives....but not without scars....scars on her wrists, scars that haunt her in her sleep, scars upon her heart. There are those who try to help Tully throughout her life. There's Robin, a good man who loves her unconditionally with all of her scars. A man who asks nothing of her, who endures her silence and betrayal, and still loves her with every ounce of his being. There's Julie, one of her best friends from childhood. Yet she too is trying to come to terms with her own life and her own mistakes and regrets. And there's Jack, the man who open's Tully's eyes and her heart, who makes her face her grief, a grief he too shares.
Undeniably, "Tully" is a story of survival and self-discovery. It's about a friendship so strong that it endures even beyond death. It is about a love so strong that it endures through months of absence and years of dreaming. What makes the character Tully so real is that she is far from perfect. She makes mistakes, big ones, mistakes that made me say "What the hell are you doing?" I disagreed with many of her choices, so much so that I wanted to shake some sense into her. But always throughout the story, I wanted Tully to take that step, to take off the armour, trust someone, let them in, let them help her unburden herself from all of the grief she carried around. I wanted her to see that her life was good....if she would only live it for herself.
Paullina Simons has fast become one of my favourite authors. She makes me adore her characters....fall in love with them...cheer for them...cry for them....mourn for them. She makes me find it within my heart to forgive them their sins...even when I wouldn't forgive myself the same sin. I cried a lot in this book, for the author has left the door open for me to examine my own life decisions, to ask the "what if" questions, to examine the skeletons in my closet. Sure, I have many regrets, and yes, my life could have been different. But like Tully.....I have survived.