Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Review: Things I Want My Daughters to Know

Elizabeth Noble has once again weaved a wonderful tale using the viewpoints of four sisters, their stepfather and excerpts from their late mother's journal. When I saw this book cover and was intrigued I had no idea that I had already read one of her novels, The Reading Group, before. (Another good read, if you were wondering.)

The book follows the girls and their stepfather in the year following their mothers death to the dreaded 'C' word. One would think that it would be messy and hard to follow the different viewpoints, but they just kept me more into the book and more wanting to find out more. I love how Noble is capable of letting out little nuggets of the story and for the little plot lines to develop in your head.

Barbara, their mother, knew death was coming and prepared by leaving a journal for her daughters to read and by leaving them all letters. Some of the contents were life shattering, and others the good ole advice you'd expect from a mum.

The Narrators

First there is Lisa, the oldest daughter who is the BIGGEST commitment phobe possible. Has the self-destructive behaviors down pat. Luckily for her, she has common sense and a wonderful "bloke." (God I love British slang!)

Jen, is the second oldest who has the vibe of a fridge wench. She is clearly unhappy and through the various nugget droppings you find out why. However, in the beginning it made me want to punch her husband, then her, and then I just wanted to hug her.

Amanda, is the third daughter and the free spirit. She is always off traveling and is not there when their mother passes. This causes her some pain but the chance meeting of Ed helps her adjust and find her real self.

Hannah, is the baby and the only child of Barb and Mark's marriage. The others all came from their mum's first marriage to Donald. Hannah is the typical teenage girl who is thrust into adulthood and loses her innocence all to young. She tests limits, she breaks rules, but deep down she loves her dad and misses her mum terribly.

Mark is the wonderful stepfather who took in Barbara's teenage daughters as if they were his own. He misses his wife terribly and tries to give the advice she would. He recalls all of the tidbits she shared through the years of how to deal with daughters and tries his hardest to be dad/mom/friend to all of them.

I really cannot do this book justice. It is soo good, and I don't want to reveal too much more because this is a book where the more you read, the more you discover and realize how little you knew and how badly you misjudged the information you had already. Or maybe that is just me.

Definitely recommend and if you've lost a mom or a close person, keep the Kleenex handy.


Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Oooh, I'm looking this up and will probably order on Amazon today. I've been reading so much YA lately, I've been needing something with a little more... substance, a little more thought provoking. I go through major phases and I'm done with the YA phase for the time being.
Have you read Jodi Picoult? She writes the same way with different narrators and does such a good job at it. I think it's got to be hard and require very close planning when writing this way but she does an incredible job and I always fly through the books because I'm trying to get back to my favorite narrator!

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I LOVE Jodi P! She is one of my favorite writers and I usually go through her books super fast. I am a nerd and haven't read her two newest ones because I want to "save" them. I suppose I am saving them for when I have absolutely NOTHING left to read.. :)

Kelly said...

Oo I really want to read that! I read The Reading Group and I loved it, didn't know she had more books :)

I am going to get the book club book today at the library, so this will be on my list after that!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I read this one a while ago after reading "Alphabet Weekends" by Noble - which I loved!

Kelly said...

ended up getting this book and the awakening out of the library today- guess I better get reading!