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If you’ve ever taken a fiction writing course, chances are you’ve heard, “Stick with one point of view. Very few writers can switch in the middle of a story and pull it off.” Well Karen Jones Gowen didn’t listen. Afraid of Everything starts out as a well written firsthand account of the life of one woman desperate to change her life after an incident at work causes an all-consuming fear to take hold of her. It is within the discussion of this fear that the author- without being dull or sounding as if she is writing a diagnostic account- gives some very real explanation of Generalized Anxiety Disorder that is neither dumbed down or patronizing.
Gowen then deftly turns the tables on the reader and transports him or her into an artfully crafted third person account of what happens to the main character after a life altering injury and her subsequent coma within which she is taken on a journey that evokes the pages of a well-crafted fantasy novel – complete with a guide called Coriander.
It’s a story of a woman who was afraid of everything but was just beginning anew when her world is shattered. In the bulk of the book, we are with the main character Coriander as she guides her through this other land and teachers her through stories, parables and the occasional encounter with the dead relatives, about herself, relationship, and a life well lived and the messages she has been given on her journey to impart to those in her life.