What if you were born with an allergy that would not allow you to touch another human being? And they could not touch you? How would you survive? How could you participate within society? In Colleen Oakley’s novel Close Enough to Touch her main character Jubilee Jenkins lives with these issues. Can one truly understand this journey?
“Jubilee Jenkins has a rare condition: She's allergic to human touch. After a nearly fatal accident, she became reclusive, living in the confines of her home for nine years. But after her mother dies, Jubilee is forced to face the world - and the people in it - that she's been hiding from.
Jubilee finds safe haven at her local library, where she gets a job. It's there she meets Eric Keegan, a divorced man who recently moved to town with his brilliant, troubled adopted son. Eric is struggling to figure out how to be the dad - and man - he wants so desperately to be. Jubilee is unlike anyone he has ever met, yet he can't understand why she keeps him at arm's length. So Eric sets out to convince Jubilee to open herself and her heart to everything life can offer, setting into motion the most unlikely love story of the year.” (Amazon)
I loved this story! It was well narrated! I listened to it as an audio book and felt transported to another world. I also loved that the main character worked for a library, although I don’t think a library would stay open in a blizzard. I have always said that there is always a little truth in fiction. The truth explored here is Jubilee’s allergy to touch and how she comes to live in the world around us. While many people may have an illness, it does not mean that they need to be excluded from community or just being around other people. Sometimes it also takes courage from the person who has the illness to reach out especially if they have been rejected in the past.
On a side note I hope that people will learn from Jubilee’s story and not be afraid to serve those in need.
Preorder a copy of Colleen’s next novel You Were There Too here.