Although the two main characters in Deborah Crossland’s newest novel, The Quiet Part Out Loud are a baseball pitcher and a cheerleader, this is not your typical “athlete gets the girl” romance. This is a book about mental, emotional, and spiritual wholeness as much as it is about how relationships involve opening worlds for one another and experiencing those worlds together. It confirms that love is an action verb. More than just feeling, love is doing; it is serving the needs of others.
Set in San Francisco, the story follows the lives of Alfie Thanasis and Mia Clementine. Determined to find beauty in people and in the world, Mia lives life largely on her own terms. Fierce in her beliefs, she resists the “good girl” label because “being a good girl always meant doing what other people wanted. Ignoring things [she] wanted and silencing the things [she] wanted to say for the sake of others” (235).
From a large Greek family, Alfie is the kind of guy who will make the best of anything. Loyal, athletic, and good with words, Alfie is family oriented and religious. He teaches Mia about another way of being in the world. Until she meets Alfie, Mia’s foot is hard on the gas, pushing towards the future and the opportunity it holds. However, when Mia’s life crashes down around her, she pushes Alfie out of her life.
Mia’s best friend, Simi points out how we sometimes make things more difficult for no reason. She tells Mia, “You’re so hell-bent on exposing the messed-up things in the world, but you can’t take two seconds to look at yourself” (113). It takes the disaster of an earthquake to make Mia realize what she has lost because of self-sbotage. Now, pushed by hope, she is determined to reconnect with Alfie, but she has to find him first!
On her quest, Mia encounters people who teach her some of life’s most important truths. From Chin-Sun, she learns that when we hear with our hearts, we are more likely to live intentionally and with a higher purpose. “People have a hard time saying the quiet part out loud, and that’s okay. That’s why we have other ways of speaking. Of saying what we mean. The truth always lies within the metaphor. And the metaphor speaks directly to [the heart]” (258).
And from Devi, she learns the value of putting down roots and flourishing, of staying grounded while reaching for the sky.
After being traumatized by a family that uses religion as intimidation, it takes all of these people to help Mia realize that if she gives up on faith, she will be alone in the world. Mia’s journey to healing begins when she accepts that finding and claiming the love she has for people is the fuel that helps her live more fully.
- Posted by Donna