Believing in Bigfoot got me with the title. No, it isn’t about seeing Bigfoot. It is the story of Ruth, a photographer in her 50s who is currently a college professor. It is also the story of Isaac, hiding away in the mountains for clarity after finishing the filming of a movie that he is sure will be a flop. Isaac was once “big” and is struggling with acting as a profession. The two of them meet when Ruth and her friend Meg are hiking. There is an immediate chemistry between the two of them, though Ruth initially thinks it is one-sided. However, Isaac feels it as well and after agonizing about it, decides to pursue her when he sees her photography will be on display at an art show at the college where she teacher.
I found this story refreshing, and enjoyed getting away from a romance between twenty-somethings. Aging doesn’t necessarily slow your desire for love and affection. I enjoyed reading the thoughts and turmoil that Ruth feels, though at times I thought and felt she was entirely too rough on herself – but who isn’t on occasion?
The author’s writing was very detailed, and not in a tedious way. You felt Ruth’s sadness when her son comes to take his dog from her after allow it to stay with her for several weeks. You felt her irritation with him whenever he brought a woman he was dating to her home, and treated her condescendingly. Her attraction to Isaac, her questioning her abilities to keep his interest, her questioning of his character – all of this is presented in a way that you empathize entirely with her.
Not only were the situations and emotions detailed, so were the locations. I could see Ruth’s home in my mind. The half-painted barn. The cottage in Provence. The college. Her cat.
While it might be categorized as a romance, of which there is some, I’m not sure that I agree that is what it is. It is simply the story of a woman, and a man, coming to terms with aging, specifically with living life as they want in order to be happy.