Feldman, Joshua Max. “Start Without Me: A Novel”, William Morrow, 2017.
Love and Choice, Disappointment and Hope
One of few classic American traditions that have not changed with all of the advances of technology in this country is Thanksgiving. For many, it reflects the concept of idealism that has been such an integral part of America’s history. Joshua Max Feldman takes us into the lives of two strangers who met by accident on Thanksgiving and through them we explore questions of love and choice and disappointment and hope over the course of one day.
Adam is a former musician and a recovering alcoholic who has come home for Thanksgiving for the first time in many years. Even though he is spending this time with family and loved ones, he has the feeling that regardless of what he does, he will always be the black sheep in the family; the one who never does anything right. Marissa is a flight attendant whose marriage is suffering because of tensions dealing with race, class, and ambition. She is going to spend the holiday with her husband’s family, where they will sit down to a beautiful meal that like the family, is close to perfection. She is anxious because she is pregnant and her husband is not the farther of the child that she is carrying. Her pregnancy is the result of an impulsive one-night stand.
Adam and Marissa meet in the airport restaurant on Thanksgiving morning and over the course of the day, they speak with emotion and expression as they form a surprising bond. They speak about everything, their families, their choices and their future hopes and desires. By using Thanksgiving as a backdrop, writer Feldman reflects on the American dream as seen by two people who struggle to learn about who they are.