Beth Moran comes to the blog with a story of friendship, second chances and overcoming crippling anxiety with support and love in
How Not to be a Loser
Directed and managed since childhood, Amy Piper hasn’t left her house for over two years, hasn’t spoken to her family in over thirteen years, and her only actual contact with the outside world (aside from her work-at-home job) is her son Joey and her former coach CeCe. Extreme agoraphobia combined with panic attacks have crippled her and left her unable to see her son swim, although she has watched his meets on video and tries to manage his life as best she can with help. Until a recognition that she needs to change, and starts on a self-guided plan – her “How Not to be a Loser” plan, taking small steps and engaging the former competitor that she buried some thirteen years ago when her life went pear shaped and she was the focus of tabloids and gossip columns after chucking in her spot in the Olympics and her promise as “the nation’s best chance”. With an unexpected pregnancy, desertion by the father, her own family disowning her and struggling to find her way with CeCe being both parent and support – her world has shrunk significantly and drastically. But she’s not happy with it – and feels that CeCe’s training methods were big contributors to her current issues.
A desperate need for medicine for her son, and having cut CeCe out of her life – Amy is faced with her greatest fear – outdoors – and is helped by Nathan who finds her, an utter mess not steps from the Chemist. Nearing closing time, and being off kilter, Nathan offers his help and a suggestion that she come meet The Larks, a group of people working on their fitness that he believes will be good for her. And here is where the story takes off: from Amy’s falling on a solo run before daybreak, to being found and rescued by the Larks: their commando-raid style friendship – pushing, inviting themselves in, demanding her time and attention, it’s not long before Amy is, if not ‘comfortable’ outdoors, at least able to attend early morning runs.
Here’s where Moran’s skills in storytelling and creating a compelling character in Amy, with a solid backstory, a son that she’d do almost anything for, and her own history as a teenaged swimming phenom that we see the roots of her anxiety, and just how easily it was for it to become the monster that isolated her from everything. It takes nearly a year, and the progress is often two steps forward and five back, but the glimmers of the “old Amy” and her competitive nature, along with her developing relationship with Nathan, her son’s success at swimming, and a community pool complex being named after her ‘swimmer self” the support of friends, plenty of determination and a sudden realization of all she has to offer, and all that others have overcome and still get up and out in the morning will have you cheering her on, celebrating the small victories, worrying at the setbacks and wanting to have your own crew of Larks to be there for support and friendship. A favorite read that I couldn’t put down – this story takes you into the thoughts (or some of them) that are common to us all, overwhelming to those with crippling anxiety, and gives tiny little coping mechanisms for dealing with it all.
Title: How Not to be a Loser
Author: Beth Moran
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Depression, Friendship, Grief, Humor elements, Mental Health, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain, Small Town
Published by: Boldwood Books
Published on: 24 March, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦Audible
Amy Piper is a loser. She’s lost her confidence, her mojo and her way.
But one thing she has never lost is her total love for her thirteen-year-old son Joey, and for his sake she knows it’s time for a change. But first she has to be brave enough to leave the house…
What she needs are friends and an adventure. And when she joins a running group of women who call themselves The Larks, she finds both. Not to mention their inspiring (and rather handsome) coach, Nathan.
Once upon a time Amy was a winner - at life, at sport and in love. Now, with every ounce of strength she has left, she is determined to reclaim the life she had, for herself and for Joey. And who knows, she might just be a winner again – at life, sport, and love, if she looks in the right places…
Uplifting, funny and unforgettable, Beth Moran returns with a joyous tale of friendship, love and facing your fears.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.