In We Are Not most people poet and author Tracy Ryan draws an intriguing concept around the human psyche that captures the very beautiful, but also in its disturbing frankness, the delicate heart that lives within us all.
Terry Riley is only a young girl when her father is killed in a traffic accident. He was an alcoholic who made the family life miserable every Saturday night with his violent outbursts, but also went to Mass on Sundays to teach the children the catechism. Damaged and missing her father, Terry discovers she is a loner, a girl who struggles to make friends that will last, with her one love, her one passion that of languages, and the teacher who, in a bumbling way attempts to teacher her in high school.
Kurt Stocker was the youngest member of his family, a family deeply pious and god-fearing; a gentle soul who only wanted to please his parents, but discovered early in life that no matter what he did, he never quite achieved that desired state. At a young age he decides a change of schools is the solution and enters the Seminary for two reasons, one to escape the teacher who terrified him and the other to please his parents. Once again he simply did not fit.
He eventually becomes a new emigre to Australia with a young wife Liesl, a woman who was out to make the best she could of this new beginning, but Kurt unfortunately struggles with so much.
Terry also has had enough of trying to fit into life, making up her mind to enter the Church via the Carmelite Order, as this will rid her of people, unwanted trappings of life and everything will be simple once again. Once there she falls prey to a debilitating illness, eventually leaving the Order to begin life in the real world once again.
We Are Not Most People is also a story of May to September love, a young damaged, intelligent woman and an older, far more experienced, damaged man and their love; a platonic, and yet deep love, overshadowed Kurt’s first wife, Liesl and her ties to Kurt that go back far into the past.
Delicate and carefully balanced, Tracy Ryan has gracefully woven a story about people who just simply do not fit into the normal parameters of everyday life, their angst, their brilliance and their love, carved slowly out of the despair that can and does change a life.
Beautiful in it its language, this is a story that once read and enjoyed, as it is an immensely enjoyable read, will not easily be forgotten.