A lovely, funny story about a woman’s courage to go out into the world where human contact could mean her own death sentence.
Close Enough to Touch
by Colleen Oakley
Jubilee Jenkins hasn’t left her house in 9 years. After a kiss from the popular boy in high school nearly killed her, she decided it’s not worth venturing out to the world. She’s been living alone since her mother left her when she turned 18. Through her mother’s monthly stipend and her resourcefulness, she’s managed to hold off the universe from encroaching on her life.
But the death of her mother would leave her penniless as her stepfather decided to cut off her allowance. Leaving her no choice but to find employment, Jubilee would have to leave the house and risk her life every day. Her unusual allergies to skin contact confined her to her house with no interaction with another human being. She’s lived a lonely life; barely speaking to another soul. She finished high school at home and took free Harvard courses online. Everything she needed got delivered to her house. She even managed to work the system in her favor. But she will have to leave her fortress for the first time in her life.
What a lovely read, you guys. I felt Jubilee’s fear every time she’s confronted by another human, and because she didn’t have much experience with human interaction, she was an adorable bundle of awkwardness. In a matter of days, her lonely existence was suddenly full of people who would care and understand her plight in the most unexpected ways. I especially love the way the father and son would make her even entertain the possibility of a romantic relationship. It’s so impossible, though. When a single touch could put her in anaphylactic shock.
Eric Keegan’s life is a mess. He has an adopted son whom he can’t seem to find a kinship and a daughter from a failed marriage who’s not speaking to him. He can’t figure out how to right the ship. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Eric; a father who’s only doing what he can to save his relationship with his teen daughter, whom, by the by way, was well on her way to being a juvenile delinquent. She’s so angry and rebellious. He sends her numerous unanswered text messages and keeps fervent hope for forgiveness. He saw the path to reconciliation by way of a book report journal. In there was a collection of opinions on books that she’s read. This book would bridge their relationship somehow, and inadvertently connect him to Jubilee.
Close Enough to Touch is a lovely story about finding the courage to confront your fears. It doesn’t matter what the motivation is – may it be out of desperation or survival, the fear is still real. Jubilee is a woman who was lonely and in need of human interaction. But the same interaction could mean her death. At the end of the day, she needed to find it in her to want it enough to do something about her malady.