Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book List: Death, Divorce and Sex Edition

Here are three more more library finds. These three all include death, divorce and sex--not necessarily in that order. Family also played a big role in the first two. These books were all a bit heavier than my usual chick lit. I found them all to be slightly painful to read at times, but overall enjoyed them.

Who By Fire by Diana Spechler: This novel tells the story of the Kellerman family whose lives are torn apart when their daughter and youngest sister Alena disappears at the age of 6. Now young adults, the two older children continue to struggle with the after effects of this family trauma. Bits deals with her pain through promiscuity. Her younger brother Ash who blames himself for the kidnapping tries to find causes to somehow fill the void and erase the pain--his latest is Orthodox Judaism and he has moved to Jerusalem to live accordingly. This novel tells of the families struggle to save each other and save themselves. An interesting read, this novel has some very powerful moments although the sex scenes were disturbing.

Three Mothers
by Sonia Lambert: Any woman can relate to this novel as we have all experienced a mother-daughter relationship--that strange mix of loving someone, but not always getting along. For me, it's because my mother and I are so much alike that we are either best friends or butting heads--luckily the best friends always wins out in the end. In this novel, we meet Susie, her mother Vera and her grandmother Helene. Vera has just been diagnosed with advanced cancer and Susie is struggling to accept her mother's imminent death. She asks her mother to record her "story." Vera suggests that she get her grandmother to do the same. The novel alternates between current day narrated by Susie and the past narrated by Vera and Helene. The past stories revolve around love, marriage, pregnancy, motherhood and eventually divorce. I found it a little confusing at first (not helped by a 10 day break when I went on vacation), but quickly got sucked in. I enjoy multiple narrators and layers. Overall, I thought this was a good read. Again, very powerful at times.

Testimony by Anita Shreve: I have read other novels by Anita Shreve and didn't like them all (I hated The Pilot's Wife) so I wasn't sure about checking this one out, but decided to go for it. This novel takes place at a private high school in Vermont. A tape has just been discovered showing three male students (18 and 19 years-old) having sex with a fourteen year-old female student. When I first started reading this novel, I thought this was a different kind of Anita Shreve--it was not focused on a failing marriage or an affair. But as I got further in to the novel, I realized she hadn't strayed as far as I thought. Another novel told by multiple narrators, I enjoyed the way Shreve let the story unfold in a non-traditional manner. I enjoyed the little clues and nuances that emerged slowly to help the pieces of the story fall into place. However, at times, reading this book felt like watching a car accident about to happen and not being able to turn away even though you really want to. Overall, a good read, but definitely painful at times.

Now I'm ready for some good fluff reading. Maybe a little happier ever after. Is that so much for a girl to ask?


bodoba said...

Those sound like good books! I don't read fiction but I'm glad you enjoyed them!

Lydee said...

thanks again for the reviews. i really appreciate them (although, i've been so busy pushing the "next" button i haven't had a chance to really read a book).