“In life, you either choose to sing a rainbow, or you don’t.”
I was actually looking for a good material other than my typical YA novels in my collection, one fine day. Just when I saw Chasing Rainbows under the category life and philosophy. This novel appealed to me from the very few pages of it. With coping up with loss and death of a father, I was certain that I would be having a certain degree of relation to what the novel offers. And you know what? I did.
As I read on, I was truly overwhelmed by the feeling of grief, not just by the loss of the protagonist’s father, but also by losing her daughter. So the progression came in. There was this certain air of motivation of moving on with life after stumbling down. I think losing people who are so dear to you, permanently, is the greatest burden to bear. In this novel’s case, Benadette had lost a father, a daughter, and subsequently, her husband. I can imagine how her world has been stumbling down, crumbling into pieces right before her very eyes. And yet, she managed to deal with all these unfortunate sequence of events with the help of the remaining people in her life—her mom, brother, and her bestfriend Diane.
Lucky is what she is for having a best friend she’d known for almost all her life. But just like in any other friendship, squabbles and conflicts were never absent. And here again, another life issue has been given to her, amidst her constant motion to move on. But do you know what makes me like Bernadette’s character here? It’s her personal affirmation to live her life forward despite the fact that she had been through all these heartaches and loss. The not-so-many scenarios of her attempt to change the direction of her life added humor to the story. I love the idea that she wanted to lose weight, cut her hair for a new look, tried to have a makeover, and bought “hot” boots. These acts were so real I even remembered doing these same things when I was…well…younger.
There are two things I like the most in this novel. One is the incorporation of an obedience school dropout dog in the name of Poindexter. I love how this dog portrayed a confidant to his beloved owner. A dog chasing airplanes and afraid of confrontation of any sort is such a wonderful and playfully crafted product of the author’s imagination. Two is the developing romance of Bernie to a cat walker neighbor in the name of Aidan a.k.a. Number Thirty Six. Isn’t it cute to use code names to love prospects? I remember when I was still, well, a lot younger, I also used code names for my crushes.
I commend Kathleen Long for writing a novel such as this. I so love the idea that she incorporated meaningful and related quotes at the very end of each chapter, as part of the cryptogram that her primary character was solving in the story. Yes, I am a fan of quotable quotes, that I can call myself a “quote woman”. For me, it adds substance to whatever you are trying to say. I also like Long’s style of writing—not so flowery, but not boring. Just right for a mature appetite. Chasing Rainbows is not so lengthy that you can finish it without putting it down. The story is not so grand, but that’s what makes it as real as the worldly life. The novel ended just so lightly with lots of possibilities.
After finishing Chasing Rainbows, again, I gained a lot of realizations about love, friendship, motherhood, and life in general. Actually, I think the novel encompasses all possible aspects of life. First, in dealing with any loss a significant person in life, it is always alright to grieve, cry, and sob. People grieve differently. That’s true. But one thing is certain, all the tears won’t bring back the life that was already taken. So it is just ok to feel grief for a while. And after that, just not that long after that, move on. Life is full of possibilities. You might miss to catch the sunshine when you are busy comforting yourself in the rain. Another one, in dealing with marital issues such as divorce, it might also feel like a loss. You lose that one person you envisioned your life to be with for the rest of your life. But the catch is, never take your relationship with your partner for granted. In the process, you might be losing that vital bond with your spouse while you were so down. Never ever forget that you don’t carry the world, you don’t need to shoulder the grief all by yourself. That is the purpose of having a partner in life—to share your ups and downs with. As cliche as it may seem, it will always be prevention is better than cure. So better be cautious not to let that one person you love the most slip out of your life. Because if he/she does, you might not bring him/her back. Sometimes life has its own way of proving to us that we better get a good grip of what we have at the moment. And if the case is irreparable, then let it go. There’s no use holding on to something that will not make you feel loved anymore. If ever that happens, just maintain a positive outlook that the future is always better and brighter. On the issue of friendship, not all people are so lucky to have true old friends. And when I say old, I mean knowing them for almost the rest of your life. Friends, real friends, are extension of yourself. In most cases, your truest and best friends know more things about you than your family does. And true enough, keeping a handful of them is like treasuring a handful of the rarest gems in the world. Lastly, in living life in general. As some songs say it, who says life is going to be easy? It is going to be just worth it. So live life according to how you want to live it. Never ever be dictated by anyone or anything on how to lead your life. After all, we’ve only got one shot. Therefore, we should chase our own rainbows and live the best life we all ever wanted.