Invisible Ellen; Shari Shattuck
Putnam - 2014
"Occasionally, though not very often, Ellen Homes would wonder how she gained two hundred seventy-three pounds and simultaneously disappeared. Not that she necessarily need an answer, or even wanted one, because, simply put, being unseen was everything Ellen ever wanted.
Ellen leads a solitary life, by choice. The product of an abusive, neglectful mother, Ellen now lives on her own in a studio apartment with her cat. For entertainment she eats--a lot -- and she spies on her neighbors in the apartments across the way. She keeps detailed notes of their comings and goings - the drug seller, the pregnant girl, the neighbor who neglects their potted plants - it's all recorded in her journal. Each evening she takes the bus to her nighttime cleaning crew job at Costco, where her slimeball boss is known to bully and harass some employees, but she likes the fact that she doesn't need to interact with many people there.
One day when a blind girl on the bus asks Ellen to tell her when they approach her bus stop, Ellen agrees. When some thugs then try to steal the blind girl's purse, something snaps and the "invisible Ellen" springs to life to help the young woman named Temeritry, and an unlikely friendship is forged. She moves out of her comfort zone to accept a thank you dinner invitation from Temerity who she believes lives alone. She soon meets Justice, who lives with his sister and, like his sister, is very sweet and accepting of Ellen.
The story takes the reader on a sometimes sad and sometimes comical journey of Ellen - her childhood, her job at Costco and other antics which arise with her new friends, Definitely a character driven novel, it moving to see Ellen who initially sees herself as "invisible" slowly taking chances and putting herself out there. At times the antics border on slap-stick, but it was ultimately a story that left me feeling happy, that our protagonist, Ellen, would be just fine.
Loving stories with quirky characters, this story was a fun, quick read for me. The author has a new book coming out in August called, Becoming Ellen, which I am anxious to try as well.
(sent by publisher)