Close Enough to Touch

Close Enough to Touch

by Colleen Oakley

Overview: Can you miss something you never had? Jubilee Jenkins is no ordinary librarian. With a rare allergy to human touch, any skin-to-skin contact could literally kill her. But after retreating into solitude for nearly ten years, Jubilee’s decided to brave the world again, despite the risks. Armed with a pair of gloves, long sleeves, and her trusty bicycle, she finally ventures out the front door—and into her future.

Eric Keegan has troubles of his own. With his daughter from a failed marriage no longer speaking to him, and his brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son attempting telekinesis, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. So when an encounter over the check-out desk at the local library entangles his life with that of a beautiful—albeit eccentric—woman, he finds himself wanting nothing more than to be near her.

A “heart-wrenching and humorous” (Publishers Weekly) love story for anyone who’s ever wanted something—or someone—just out of reach, Colleen Oakley’s Close Enough to Touch will delight fans of Jojo Moyes’s One Plus One and Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project.

Deanna Boe (04/10/18): Because the author will soon be talking at the Roswell Library, I decided I wanted to read her book beforehand, it makes the talk that much more interesting. Unfortunately I was not able to secure the book through the library so I bought it. I always donate any books I buy to the library in my hometown in Iowa that they might not have.

This is a very well written, interesting, and unusual book simply because of the topic that the author decided to base her novel. When I first started the book I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it, but it didn’t take long to be caught up in the storyline. It seems in today’s world there are more and more allergies that people are developing. But, this allergy is so rare that no one had ever heard of it before. Because of its unique nature, Jubilee, the main character of the story, has lived a life of isolation the past 9 years. She is forced to re-enter society simply because she needs to work to support herself. Just what could have been so rare that she had separated herself from others? If anyone touched her she went into extreme shock and could die. In short, she was allergic to the stroke of another human being. Think about this. Can you imagine never being able to touch anyone or they you? That would mean no casual brushing up against someone, holding hands, hugging, kissing, and naturally sex. In short, all of the things that keep us feeling alive, loved and needed.

How could Jubilee cut off herself from everyone and survive for 9 years? Her Mother had moved to another state when she married a very wealthy man, leaving Jubilee alone in the house. She sent her checks to live by, but once her Mother passed away the checks stopped. Now what? The fear of starving to death forces Jubilee to make the drastic decision of leaving the security of her home to get a job. By coincidence Jubilee meets the young lady who had been instrumental in high school in almost causing her death. Madison had been an extremely popular student but is now a divorced mother of three. It is this accidental meeting that changes Jubilee’s life. Not only does Madison help her get a job at the local library, but this job leads to her meeting a wonderful man and his son who both change her life and show her the importance of friendships and what life could be like.

Obviously, the author has created a “far out” situation and to the best of Oakley’s knowledge, does not exist. But this unique novel creates an entirely different concept of people, their need for love and happiness. As stated above, it is a well written storyline that captures your attention and wishing for the happiness that Jubilee so desperately needs and deserves. Now to read Oakley’s first novel, BEFORE I GO.
Rating: ****

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