When someone tells us to “stop and smell the roses,” the reality of life is that there aren’t always roses to enjoy. Somewhere In Between, the debut fictional novel by Abby Fricke, translates this fact with creativity, but not with less truth. Right as chapter two begins, a flashback unfolds as the main character, Amy, relives a traumatizing experience. Though the scenario spared me from rated-R details, its intensity remained stout, beckoning me to read more yet warning me about the journey I was agreeing to take.
An eleventh-grade girl named Amy is uprooted from her home in San Fransicso and reluctantly accepts a new life in Hawaii with her newlywed mom and step-dad. Though she is shy about her photography skills, her camera is the one thing that keeps her grounded wherever she goes. Her passion is to give a voice to anything that has been robbed of its speech by capturing and developing it.
Ironically, Amy flees from the camera because she herself has been silent about a lot of hidden pain. This over-arching metaphor is evident throughout the story as Fricke strategically uses situations with a camera to convey this underlying plot. I was impressed with the connections that Fricke made to express Amy’s psychological makeup and her emotional and mental health.
As I built my own relationships with the characters and saw their interactions, I gained wisdom about why those who are like Amy in real life function the way they do. Fricke’s goal to highlight hidden battles and the struggle to open up was effortlessly achieved. Ultimately, the sense that we are all Amy in our own ways grew on me.
Often, we are guarded and even scared to let our walls down. Bearing vulnerability is tough, as was stressed through Fricke’s arrangement of dialogue and Amy’s internal stream of consciousness. Reaching a breaking point, however, can be full of relief and acceptance beyond what we may have imagined possible. And the author makes it apparent that we are never as alone as we think.
Please enjoy this excerpt from Abby Fricke’s Somewhere In Between:
I had been at the park for two hours, sitting on the wet sidewalk trying to take a picture of the wood bench in front of me. I’d tried every angle, but somehow, I could not seem to capture the bench in a way that gave it justice or even a subtle voice of any sort. I mean, what was the deal with snapping a shot of a bench anyway. What could a bench have to say?
“Don’t sit on me?” or “Gee, maybe you should take a shower today?” Either way, I’d started to draw attention to myself, so I decided to take a break and sit on the bench instead of attacking it with my camera lens.
I set my camera down into the camera bag and slumped into the bench. This was hopeless. How was I supposed to find the bench’s “voice” when I didn’t even feel like I had one of my own?….I threw my head into my hands, unable to escape my thoughts. That’s what I needed to do, though, escape my thoughts and think like the bench. Think like the bench. Think. Think.
I was about to give up when it hit me. I glanced across the walkway to another bench where there was a homeless man asleep, a newspaper strewn across his face and a faded green poncho draped across the remainder of his body. His breathing lulled the newspaper up and down, causing the front-page story to morph into the sports section. I watched as couples walked by, fearful of looking at the homeless man like he was some infected invalid, as if poverty were contagious and they would catch it just by looking at him….
But what no one seemed to notice. What no one’s eyes seemed to see, what no one could understand was that this homeless man gave the bench a voice because he made it his bed, his home. It spoke to him. It was his.
I knew this was the shot I needed to take. But somehow, I needed to capture the bench from the perspective of the homeless man, showing the significance the bench held for him. Something so seamless, so trivial, was someone’s home, someone’s comfort in a world that provided little.
Featured Image By Roman Trifonov