Monday, May 15, 2006
In a Nutshell: Ah, where do I begin. This book had so many things thrown in here it is hard to pull one main story line here. Well, the crux of the book revolves around a woman named Jesse who gets called to her home on Egret Island to care for her ailing mother, Nelle. Going back causes much of her past demons to bubble-up to the surface. Her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her close relationship with her father who died when she was young, her mother's eccentric friends, her current complacent marriage and her stifled hopes and dreams. She begins an affair with a junior monk while on the island which awakens all kinds of stuff in her. Through this is a bunch of " goddess"symbolism and religious symbolism adding a whole other layer to things.
My Take: It kills me to say this, but this was awful. I was so sad, because I SO loved The Secret Life of Bees. It seemed that the author was rushed writing this, perhaps? And she also was trying to throw everything from her bag of ideas in one story, a relationship with a mother, a relationship with a dead father, an affair with a priest, an eccentric circle of friends, symbolism in religion and goddesses. Goodness, I could not keep track of it all, and there was so much that she did not go deep enough on anything to really grow a relationship with any of the characters. There were moments her talent and beautiful writing came through, where I got teary at some sections that really pulled at my heart. But for the most part, the threads did not come together for me like they could have. Some of the elements of this story felt like it was thrown in there to make a great movie screenplay-but not really a very good book. A real disappointment, and my book club ladies agreed.