Approaching the Speed of Light
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[Lustbader]...nails the mental and physical horrors of living without love...


Lustbader crafts a beautiful novel about surviving tragedy and overcoming defeat, even when life’s demons almost seem indestructible.

As a boy, Jody learned life’s lessons the hard way, growing up with a lot of pain and anguish until he was adopted at age nine. But now, as a grown man living in early twenty-first-century New York City, Jody still has a hard time getting close to anyone and goes through women as though they were merely candy. Although Jody might seem like the average playboy, all he truly wants is to let go of his past and to find the love that he has never once been able to experience.

Gradually, his relationships with women begin to change and deepen, and then he finally meets an older woman named Tess, who is dealing with a painful loss of her own. The two form an incredible bond, one that may help them both heal and possibly bring love into both of their lives.

–Carissa Chesanek, BOOKLIST ONLINE

The Title Lives Up To The Story (4 1/2 stars)

Jody K, is a man with a past that no matter how hard he tries to run from it, hide from it, or eventually embrace it, what was created in his childhood was a black hole in his heart that he can never escape. Three women come into his life, Ella, 20 years his senior, who he catches a glimpse of at the age of 17 begins the chain of events that lead to his 29th birthday. Arwen, his current girlfriend whose love he repels, can only watch as the man she chose to love recedes into her past and finally Tess, his substitute mother and therapist, a lost soul searching for answers that somehow Jody will provide. The trinity of women represent hope, and my interpretation of the characters lead me to believe they are his past, future and present, with a fourth one introduced to bind him to live in one of those time frames.

I realize that the review is a little vague, but to go further in depth I feel would spoil it for the potential reader. … There are many themes that a reader or a book club can sink their teeth into, whether that be drug abuse, child abuse, love, hate, forgiveness, redemption, trust, just to name a few.

The book's pace was exactly as its title reports. I read the last 180 pages in one sitting and had a hard time putting it down, then tossed and turned in bed as I digested what it was I just absorbed and isn't that what a good novel is supposed to do? The book left me with echoes of the story (even as I write this) and I think when you finish the novel you will look back and realize you have just read a book well worth your time and will leave you wishing there was more.

–An Amazon Vine™ Review

A disturbing and intensely readable novel (4 stars)

Jody is a very disturbed young person, having had a hellaceous early childhood before being adopted at age six. He now is struggling to make sense of his life and is influenced especially by four women: Arwen, Fern, Ella, and Tess.

That's not telling you very much of the plot, but telling more would be robbing you of the experience of discovering it for yourself. Trust me, this is as mind expanding a book as the title suggests. I can't quite bring myself to give it five stars. Parts are difficult reading. However, it's more than worth reading those parts to get the full impact of the story. I do recommend this book without hesitation.

–An Amazon Vine™ Review

Heavy, but very beautifully written (5 stars)

This book was not at all what I expected. It was extremely heavy and there were parts that I found pretty difficult to read. But it was beautifully written and fit together perfectly with the letters woven into the storyline in the perfect places. 

You can't help but feel incredibly sad for the main character, Jody, and to become his cheerleader throughout the book, willing him to break free from his past and learn to let go and love. I don't want to spoil anything, but Jody's story is one that you hopefully can't relate to, but can completely feel for.

I almost gave this book 4 stars because of its heavy subject matter and the fact that I generally choose books that don't leave me feeling so down, but I changed it to five when I realized this isn't the fault of the author. You should note that this book isn't going to have the power to cheer you up, but it's beautifully written and meaningful.

–An Amazon Vine™ Review

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