Hey fellow written word lovers!

I decided since we’re starting off a new year, I would go back through the titles I enjoyed so much in 2013. Pay homage to the past before proceeding into the future, or something like that. If you plan on reading any of these titles, some of my reviews may contain spoilers.

These aren’t in any particular order.

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver:

This book stands out in my mind. It’s incredibly powerful, especially for readers who are also parents, like me. It’s written from the perspective of Eva Khatchadourian, the mother of a teenage boy, Kevin, who goes on a killing spree in his high school. In these letters to her estranged husband, she examines her role as a mother, from deciding whether or not she wanted children, to her pregnancy, and later her life as a mother to a troublesome young boy. She forces herself to look at every aspect of her relationship to her son, and how her sometimes cold demeanor with Kevin could have caused some of his issues. She’s blatantly honest with herself in these letters, and she examines her new life after the fall out of her son’s actions. It’s not an easy read, but I forced myself to continue because I wanted to know how this woman continues on with her life when the unthinkable happens. It’s an altogether incredible book, but it may not be for everyone.

We Are Water by Wally Lamb:

I love all of Wally Lamb’s books. I read his first novel, She’s Come Undone, when I was 16 and the emotions it elicited stayed with me. He has an incredible ability as a man to write from a woman’s perspective. In his new novel, he examines a modern family after the marriage of the book’s central characters, Dr. Orion Oh and his wife Annie, falls apart. Annie has now moved on and is marrying Viveca, the woman who helped her create an illustrious art career. Annie and Orion’s adult children have to come to terms with their mother’s change in sexual orientation, and how it changes their family dynamic. Orion is dealing with turmoil of his own after a student who he had counseled accuses him of sexual abuse, and he decides to leave his long-time job in the psychology department of their local university after his peers fail to defend him.

The betrayal Orion feels after Annie’s engagement to Viveca, along with the feelings of betrayal after his co-workers essentially turn their backs on him, leaves him feeling angry and alone. One of the main themes of this book is the long lasting effects of childhood sexual abuse, primarily with Annie. After the death of her mother and baby sister in a flood, her father becomes an alcoholic and is barely able to cope with the guilt he feels after not being able to save his wife and child, leaving Annie to be cared for by her older cousin Kent. Annie’s older brother throws himself into his schooling and is absent from the home often, leaving Kent and Annie home alone, which begins the traumatic sexual abuse. Kent uses the guilt Annie feels after not being able to hold onto her little sister as the flood waters raged, to keep his secret molestation of her between the two of them. The psychological trauma her childhood caused her, leads Annie to begin creating what some people called “Angry Art,” and while her career as an artist flourishes, her marriage and relationship with her children suffers.

This book has a lot of emotion, and while some of it may be difficult to read due to the somewhat graphic nature, it truly is a beautiful story of love and family. The ending does leave something to be desired, but I believe that any other ending may not have done the story justice. Wally Lamb creates lively and vibrant characters, and they get the realistic ending that you come to expect from him as an author. One of the best books I’ve read, no doubt. However, Wally Lamb’s “The Hour I First Believed” will always be my favorite of his.

These are just two titles I decided to start off with, I hope you enjoy my reviews!

Again, to authors who would like me to review their book, please e-mail me at etoland16@aol.com

Happy reading!

Erin

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