Monday, May 17, 2010

Book #48 of 2010

Book #48 of 2010 was ... "Family History" by Dani Shapiro.

Rachel Jensen is perfectly happy: in love with her husband, devoted to their daughter Kate, gratified by her work restoring art. And finally, she's pregnant again. But as Rachel discovers, perfection can unravel in an instant. The summer she is thirteen, Kate returns from camp sullen, angry, and withdrawn. Everyone assures Rachel it's typical adolescent angst. But then Kate has a terrifying accident with her infant brother, and the ensuing guilt brings forth a dreadful lie—one that ruptures their family, perhaps irrevocably.

I enjoyed everything (as much as you can enjoy seeing someone's life shattered) about this book except the ending. It is every parent's worst nightmare in print and I felt Rachel's anguish over her crumbling family. But the ending, ugh. Shapiro seemed to decide the previous pages were too depressing because she made the ending so neat. Yes their daughter is still crazy but suddenly her husband is home and her son (who she had previously worried was delayed) is speaking in full sentences. It did not seem the least bit authentic to the rest of the story. I think she'd been better off ending it with more loose ends. It would have fit better with the tone of her book.

Up next is a food critic's memoir ... "Garlic and Sapphires" by Ruth Reichl.

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