Title: Olive Juice
Author: TJ Klune
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 121 Pages
At a Glance: Olive Juice is a story of heartache and loss, for sure. But, it is also a story of second chances and redemption, and I loved it.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:
I want to see you.
He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.
David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.
Phillip offers redemption.
Review: There was a friendship. There was a marriage. There was a loss. Followed by six years of devastation and heartache so intense that David is struggling, and failing, to get past it. This is what we know at the opening of TJ Klune’s latest release, Olive Juice. A novella so breathtaking in its subtlety, I was initially unaware that I was being led on a specific journey by Klune—skillfully guided where he wanted me to go. In the beginning, I had a definite idea of what this story was, where it was headed; but, the destination changed at midpoint to someplace unexpectedly even more powerful.
I’m continuously blown away by TJ Klune’s ability to craft a story. Whether it’s the contemporary comedy he does so well in Tell Me It’s Real or a hilarious, cracked out gem like The Lightning Struck Heart, or his quieter books like Murmuration and Wolfsong, and now Olive Juice, that are so devastatingly beautiful and haunting…I always know I’m going to have an unforgettable reading experience.
(Quick note: I was wavering over my use of ‘haunting’ above, unsure if it was the correct word choice. So, I looked up the definition to make sure there wasn’t something else I maybe wanted to go with. Definition: adjective: poignant and evocative; difficult to ignore or forget. If that’s not the perfect description of those books, I don’t know what is.)
I loved David and Phillip, man. David’s nerves and awkwardness upon taking Phillip up on his request to see each other were so palpable. My heart hurt so much for him throughout the book. And, Phillip…Phillip was the picture of calm, caring concern. He wanted so badly to help David. To get through to him somehow. And, the fact that he was there, asking to see David, even after the hurtful, awful things David said to him one night out of misery and unbearable sadness…it might be just the hope that David needs. It just might mean everything.
Things felt hopeless and irreparable.
But, then Phillip asked to see him.
Life goes on.
Olive Juice is a story of heartache and loss, for sure. But, it is also a story of second chances and redemption, and I loved it. Don’t miss this one, guys. It’s definitely on the heavier side, but it’s so, so worth it.
You can buy Olive Juice here: