★★★★ In Fred & Mary by Kipjo K. Ewers, Fred falls into a deep depression after his wife is fatally struck by a car. Mary was his life. Without her, the apartment becomes a mess. Fred no longer watches what he eats, he gives up on working out, and can no longer sleep. Desperate to remedy his restless nights, Fred orders a life-size doll to hug tight in bed. Fred thinks he’s losing his mind when the doll comes to life but is overjoyed to learn that his deceased wife has inhabited the doll. In her new form, Mary tries her best to help Fred get his life back on track. She prepares meals for him and urges him to go to the gym and socialize with friends. However, others can’t interact with Mary in doll form the way Fred can, and they quickly become concerned about Fred’s infatuation with the doll he calls his wife. Mary’s stay ends abruptly when another spirit swoops in to inhabit the doll. Fred is once again heartbroken and must decide whether he is to succumb again to depression or carry on with his life as Mary wanted him to.
The unusual reunion of husband and wife that Ewers creates is imaginative and requires that one suspend all logic and reason. While reading Fred & Mary, you are like a fly on the wall witnessing an odd couple spend time together in their apartment, making love and reminiscing about old times. There are a handful of graphic sex scenes in this book, which won’t be suitable for all readers, but this book is about much more than sex. Mary urges Fred to face what stands in his way and prevents him from moving forward with his life. She encourages him not only to live a healthier lifestyle but to mend his frayed relationships. Ewers’ book highlights the importance of forgiveness and reminds readers that moving on doesn’t mean forgetting one’s past.