More Than We Know, Rachel Hyde (DayLily Press, $14.95)
Review by Dale Boyer . Note: A version of this previously appeared in the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review
Every so often a book crawls into your lap and curls up there like a child, demanding your love and attention and making you marvel at the little, self-contained world you've suddenly found yourself holding in your arms.
Such a book is More Than We Know, and the metaphor seems apt, because Hyde's book is deeply immersed in the day-to-day realities of motherhood and raising children. Far in the protagonist, Laura's, past, she retains the vivid memory of a very deep friendship she once shared with a girl named Michelle. Acting on a youthful impulse (or was it perhaps more?), Laura kissed Michelle at a sleepover, and the friendship did not survive the strain. Married now and with two children, Laura suddenly finds herself confronted with a new friend, Julia, who begins to reawaken all the old feelings of same-sex attraction she once had for Michelle.
More Than We Know is full of wonderful little details only the most thoughtful and perceptive of writers would include, such as Laura, at her mother's house, removing childhood photos from their frames in order to fill them with pictures of her father for his funeral. This is such a simple little detail – one most other writers might not even have included – but it lends a real authenticity to the events of the novel overall, and, in the end, forms a wonderful little metaphor for how we age and accept the reality that's been handed to us.
This is not a flashy novel (more of a slow burn), and there may be some readers who will be frustrated by the resolution. But Hyde is after larger fish than merely the traditional coming-out novel variety. What happens when sexuality intrudes into a friendship? What do two friends – especially happily married ones – do with that impulse?
More Than We Know is one of the best depictions of female intimacy within a friendship I have ever come across. It is a wonderful and very welcome addition to the growing category of books that explore friendship and attraction, and the way sexuality sometimes – perhaps always? -- seems to linger at its edges.