“Hello, Sunshine” was listed on Southern Living’s Best New Summer Books of 2017. Much like “Eight Hundred Grapes,” Laura Dave kept me entranced with her book, “Hello, Sunshine.” I LOVED IT! Oh, and if you have not read “Eight Hundred Grapes,” by all means…add it to your reading list as well. You will not be disappointed.
Even with having a million things to do, errands to run and lunches to pack, I managed to finish this novel in about a day. It was a page turner that unfolds with Sunshine Mackenzie. Sunshine Mackenzie is living the modern-day dream. A bartender, who serendipitously turns You-Tube celebrity chef, has won contracts in her apron and the hearts of her fans. She is the latest and greatest foodie phenomenon…a real “Food Network Star.” Her followers not only love her recipes, but they equally love her success story. That is, until her real story is leaked and her sunshine (sorry I couldn’t help myself) is masked by darkness. This is the age-old tale of the ultimate betrayal, with an interesting twisted game of “who betrayed whom?”
But most importantly, “Hello Sunshine” is the story about identity…and often times identity theft…but not identity theft as we most commonly define it with stolen card numbers and passwords. Instead this novel reveals a different type of identity theft…that of becoming what others expect us to be…of not being true to ourselves…of living to fulfill someone else’s agenda…a life chasing another’s dreams for us. One of my favorite passages from this book is, “...these women, in their efforts to become the women they thought they should be, sometimes lost sight of the women they used to be-the women they truly were.” So weaved amongst the interesting twists, is actually a story of self-betrayal…a story of “who am I?”…a question Sunshine faces as she reconciles her own identity, and her past with her present…a question each of us faces or have faced in this lifetime as we have pondered our own paths. Have we reconciled the person that we are, with the person that we were, to become the person that we want to be? Are we living the life that we dream…or one that has been dreamed for us?
As you ponder these questions, I’ll leave you with Sunshine’s remarks, “…I think it’s a good thing to know what you want. If you do, you have a chance of getting it. If you don’t you have a chance of getting only what someone else wants you to have.”