Sunday, March 17, 2013

Joy for Beginners

Life came back slowly, Kate realized. It didn't come flooding in with the reassurance that all was well. The light outside was no different; her daughter's body, the strength of her hug, was not necessarily more substantial. The delicate veil Kate placed between herself and the world was not flung away. It clung.
But life is persistent, slipping into your consciousness sideways, catching you with a fleeting moment of color, the unexpected and comforting smell of a neighbor's dinner cooking as you walk on a winter evening, the feeling of warm water running between your fingers as you wash the dishes at night. There is nothing so seductive as reality.
Erica Bauermeister
This is the story of Kate, but really of seven women, gathered together first to support a young mother with newborn twins. Then, life and time draws them closer while unravelling their separate stories and experiences.
I am one of five sisters and because of, or in spite of, that I have always been intriqued by how diverse women connect and are drawn into community. That imperfection labeled friendship. Sometimes unequal, frustrating, inconsistent. Often fleeting and temporal. At best enduring, forgiving, understanding, tolerant, unconditional.
Recently I've been considering how one initiates and builds new and true friendships later in life when we are all less trusting, patient, open.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Where We Belong



I know what they say about secrets. I've heard it all. That they can haunt and govern you. That they can poison relationships and divide families. That in the end, only the truth will set you free. Maybe that's the case for some secrets. But I truly believed I was the exception to such portents, and never once breathed the smallest mention of my nearly two decadelong secret to anyone. Not to my closest friends in my most intoxicated moments or to my boyfriend Peter in our most intimate ones. I didn't even discuss it with my mother, the only person who was there when it all went down, almost as if we took an unspoken vow of silence, willing ourselves to let go, move on. I never forgot, not for a single day, yet I was also convinced that sometimes, the past really was the past.

Where We Belong

Emily Griffin


Sometimes, I crave a well-written, light novel. This one perfectly fit that craving. A well-crafted, contemporary story--told in two time-frames. Not a perfect novel, not a tricky plot. Yet, I liked the characters for the most part, and I was routing for them. An ambiguous ending that pleased me because it didn't make an obvious or trite leap, but still left me hopeful.

That aside, I can't stop myself from commenting on how many novels I've read recently that skip back and forth between perspectives, between eras, between timeframes--sometime four or more timeframes. Enough already! It's O.K. to tell a story sequentially, chronologically. Two timeframes, three perspectives should be enough for any book. Really.