The Art of Almost is a bittersweet short story written by Natascha Graham, one half of the couple behind Tipping the Scales. It’s more bitter than sweet, to be honest.
Gillian is thirteen in 1983 and her plans to enjoy the fair on her own are thwarted when her best friend Teddy asks her to join their group of friends. Meg is one of them and would rather spend time with Gillian than with Rich, the school hottie. Four years later, it’s still true, but then life’s a mess and everything goes wrong, at least for a while.
When you decide whether to read a story, your first contacts with it, so to speak, are the title, the cover and the blurb. I love the title. It’s poetic and fits the story and Gillian’s character just right. The blurb isn’t a blurb but an excerpt and you shouldn’t read it. It’s misleading and made me expect a ghost story, which this isn’t at all.
The cover, on the other hand, is perfect. The atmosphere Graham creates has that blurry, almost spooky quality. The Art of Almost isn’t an easy story to read, it’s not fun, it’s not heartwarming. It’s realistic and merciless yet ends on a note of hope, of possibilities, of second and third and fourth chances. An interesting read.