Friday, July 27, 2012
Book Thoughts - Shelter by Frances Greenslade
published May, 2012
Synopsis from publisher:
For sisters Maggie and Jenny growing up in the Pacific mountains in the early 1970s, life felt nearly perfect. Seasons in their tiny rustic home were peppered with wilderness hikes, building shelters from pine boughs and telling stories by the fire with their doting father and beautiful, adventurous mother. But at night, Maggie — a born worrier — would count the freckles on her fathers weathered arms, listening for the peal of her mothers laughter in the kitchen, and never stop praying to keep them all safe from harm. Then her worst fears come true: Not long after Maggie's tenth birthday, their father is killed in a logging accident, and a few months later, their mother abruptly drops the girls at a neighbor's house, promising to return. She never does.
With deep compassion and sparkling prose, Frances Greenslade's mesmerizing debut takes us inside the devastation and extraordinary strength of these two girls as they are propelled from the quiet, natural freedom in which they were raised to a world they can't begin to fathom. Even as the sisters struggle to understand how their mother could abandon them, they keep alive the hope that she is fighting her way back to the daughters who adore her and who need her so desperately.
First Impression - 7/19/12
Ugh, I already want to wrap Maggie up in a blanket and take her home with me. She just worms her way right into your heart, so you know it's going to be painful when the stuff starts to hit the fan. I think I detect a little bit of Katniss Everdeen in her, which only endears her more. Greenslade's writing is lovely, and makes the reading of her novel a pleasure. I'm enjoying the novel, but I already feel the tension of knowing that things are about to get bad.
"Worry was stuffed into the spaces around my heart, like newspaper stuffed in the cracks of a cabin wall, and it choked out the ease that should have been there. I'm old enough now to know that there are people who don't feel dogged by the shadow of disaster, people who think their lives will always be a clean, wide-open plain, the sky blue, the way clearly marked. My anxiety curled me into myself." (p. 4)
Second Thoughts - 7/23/12
I think the one of the marks of a good author is making the reader identify so much with their main character that they almost BREATHE with them. Maggie's worry has worked its way into my brain, so much that I am inventing places and events to worry about for her. I think the publisher's blurb made me expect a level of tragedy that so far hasn't been in evidence - I was convinced it would be Maggie and Jenny in a box on the street, and that clearly isn't the direction the author is headed. I do appreciate the subtle tug-of-war she creates between Maggie's burning need to get out, find her mom, do SOMETHING, and Jenny's desire to just have a normal, quiet life.
Last Word - 7/26/12
*sigh* It just ended soooo quickly. Giant info dump and then - BOOM! We're done. I really find that frustrating. This was a beautifully written novel, but it just ended far to abruptly for me. I need a bit of time to process all the enormous revelations you've just given me. Greenslade had the potential for a really remarkable novel, but it didn't live up to my expectations. I did enjoy the reading of the novel, but the story itself was unsatisfying. Unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend this one - too many other good ones to read.
Source: review copy from publisher - thank you!
MPAA rating: PG-13
My rating: 6/10