In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn is about a teenaged girl, Finn Miller, who is killed when the van she is riding in with ten other people crashes during a blizzard. Finn watches from above and narrates as the events after the crash unfold. Her parents, whose marriage was already on the rocks, deal with the trauma when her father is horribly injured. Her mother, along with a young man they had picked up only a few minutes before the accident, wait until daylight before they can get help. Finn’s 18-year-old-goth sister and her boyfriend make a terrible judgment call and must live with their decisions. Finn’s best friend, Mo, shows grace and wisdom beyond her years. Her brother, Oz, who is mentally disabled, must be cared for during the chaos. The neighbors and their daughter show their true colors during and after the ordeal. And until all things are settled, Finn cannot leave them and move on to her new existence.
This is a thought-provoking book. Can you judge people’s actions that occur in a tragedy? What can and cannot be forgiven? Are we really the people we believe ourselves to be when we are forced into survival mode? What does it take to move on with life when a loved one dies unexpectedly? What does it take to get over survivor’s guilt?
These two quotes were especially powerful:
“Desperate people do things they wouldn’t normally do”.
“Regret is the most difficult emotion to live with, but in order to have regret, you need to have a conscience: an interesting paradox that allows the worst of us to suffer the least in the aftermath of wrongdoing.”
While the story has been described by many as heart-wrenching and moving, I sometimes found it depressing. But there are also some moments I wanted to cheer for some of the characters. I also hoped that a few of the survivors would get hit by the karma bus for their bad behavior.
4-stars. I listened to the audio, which was excellently narrated. I think this book would make for a very interesting book club discussion.