The following post is the not the post I thought I was going to write yesterday. Yesterday, I was floating around in my pool thinking.. this sure is beautiful writing but we need a little something more. Quindlen does an excellent job of introducing the characters and their flaws, slowly releasing new details and uncovering secrets of the Latham family and of the narrator, Mary Beth Latham the mother. However, it was getting a little ho-hum and I was a little perturbed that I had already deduced in my head what ws going to happen. (Random factoid of me, I will read a books description when I decide if I will read it again and then never again. So by the time I read it, I have no idea what I am supposed to be reading.)
Then I moved from the pool to the tiki bar as the boys played video games in the late afternoon sun. The book moved into the climax the thing everything I had read was building for. When the reviews say it is breathtaking, they are not lying.
I then had to move to the hammock so the boys would not tease me for crying at a silly book. A book they kept trying to read the back cover of loudly and in annoying voices. Mary Beth truly endures one of the hardest things a woman/wife/parent ever faces and you (the reader) are taken on the journey with her. You cry for her. You want to scream for her. You want to shake her. You feel for her.
Sure, there are spots in the book where you want someone to scream and say YES you are partly to blame. You should have seen the signs. You should have stood up for your daughter. You should have been more firm. But at the end of the day, you never really know how your actions are going to affect the lives around you. Just as the butterfly wings in Mexico beating may cause the wind to blow on your face many miles away, the things you do or don't may affect your future forever and ever.
I think one of my favorite parts about this book is that the characters have real flaws. You recognize the every day flaws they have that you have, that your siblings have and it makes it a very believable story even when you are wondering how anyone could have ignored so many warning signs. Wonder how some could be so cavalier with sleeping pills and when their teenagers come and go. But you know, that is life. It's what happens and you can't over worry and you can't over protect. What will happen, will no matter how many ways you protect yourself from it.
"All that tread the globe are but handful to the tribes that slumber in its bosom." - William Cullen Bryant
Beautiful real characters and a beautifully told story.
I received a copy of this ARC from Crazy Book Tours. All opinions are my own.
Don't forget to suggest a book for September's Group Read.