No one is more surprised than Phoebe when she falls hopelessly in love with her dad’s much older, very married friend. Although she wants nothing more than to jump headfirst into an affair with Mitch, he refrains, telling her she’s just a kid.
Determined to prove him wrong, young Phoebe learns the irony of best laid plans. She travels to North Carolina for a wedding and accidentally falls head-over-heels for two very different men: Mason, the hotel concierge, and Frankie, a captain in the Merchant Marines. Throw in two old flames and a hunky masseur and you’ve got a most complicated love hexagon in this cautionary tale of love, sex, grief, and growing up.
*May Contain Spoilers*
The calm life of twenty-four year old Phoebe is about to swirl with drama in E.H. Nolan's book, Like a Closed Fist. After being off the dating scene for a few years, Phoebe is suddenly juggling more men than one hand can count while trying to deal with a deep scar that caused her to isolate herself in the first place.
Phoebe is a girl who doesn't know what she wants. She's twenty-four but claims to be twenty-two, dreamed of being an actress but walked away when things got tough, and has no idea what she wants in a boyfriend. But that's what the twenties are for -- time to figure all that out. And that's exactly what Phoebe tries to do. However, her past has scarred her and she's struggled to move on. When she was younger, Phoebe was raped at a party which resulted in a pregnancy that she decided to terminate. It's completely understandable that this froze her in a place of depression, sudden mood swings, uncertainty, lack of confidence and fear. She also lost her mother in a car accident not too long ago and as a result, Phoebe doesn't drive.
Yet, Phoebe tries incredibly hard to put on a happy face while trying to wade through the maze of finding herself. This shows readers how brave she is, even when she doesn't feel strong. Although, there are points in the book that shine a bad light on Phoebe. She doesn't make the best decisions and trying to date her father's friend who is married is just one of them. Her constant relapses between men is annoying at times, while her lack of ambition in other areas of her life prompts frowns and head shaking.
Though, that is the main theme of Like a Closed Fist. Phoebe struggles with her love life, creating more problems for herself than she needs to, because she doesn't yet know what direction she wants her life to go in. Which is where my favorite character comes in, her father. Phoebe's dad is incredibly supportive even though he's struggling with his new widower status. When he finally realizes that time isn't what Phoebe needs, he's there to give her a push in the right direction.
Like a Closed Fist is a dramatic novel that is simultaneously sad and entertaining, annoying and understandable. Yes, it takes time to figure out what you want out of life and what you want your life to be like. However, it's okay to make mistakes and test the waters while you're trying to discover that. Even though Phoebe isn't the most likeable character, she's three dimensional with an interesting personality and a heart full of hope. Her struggles are relatable and realistic which gives a deeper level to this novel, even though on the surface it seems like a simple love story. Really, it's a love story that has nothing to do with romance and finding the perfect partner and everything to do with loving yourself no matter the number of mistakes or scars.
Rating: 3.5/5 Cups