Tag Archives: Family

Room

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Title: Room

Author:  Emma Donoghue

Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company, September 2010

Summary:  This is a raw, astonishing story of a boy and his mother who live as prisoners in a single, small room. It may be a reminder of headline grabbing kidnapping cases, but as narrated by the child, it is a testament to a mother’s love and resiliency. Sometimes very disturbing, the horror is darkly beautiful as Ma creates a life for her son. Jack’s innocence and curiosity builds as Ma’s desperation forces them both to confront a certain reality. Very inventive and poignant, Jack is so endearing, that his voice will stay with you for a long time.

Recommended by : Cindy B., Children’s Department

Red Hook Road

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TitleRed Hook Road

Author:  Ayelet Waldman

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing, July 2010

Summary:  A young couple is killed on the way to their wedding reception in coastal Maine. Red Hook Road takes the reader on a journey with the surviving members of their families over four summers.  Iris and Daniel Copaken are the parents of the bride and they are native New Yorkers who summer in Maine; they are “from away”.  Jane Hewins, the groom’s mother, is their cleaning lady who was never happy with the union of the young couple. Emil Kimmelbrand, Iris’ father, is a famous violinist who discovers that Jane’s adopted Cambodian niece is a musical prodigy.  There are many layers to this novel but rather than being complicated and confusing Waldman manages to build each story gradually and thoroughly.  The relationships between husband and wife, mother and daughter, father and daughter, mother and son, brothers and sisters are all so believable that you can relate to their tensions, their frustrations, their joy and their pain.

Waldman is a skilled writer whose descriptions of Maine and its inhabitants are so real that she had this reader yearning to visit this fictional place.  Although a story of loss and grief it is also a story of possibilities and hope. This book is a quick read that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

Whi will like this book? Readers of Jodi Picoult, Chris Bohjalian, and Anna Quindlen.

Recommended by: Claudia, Technical Services Department

Swift as Desire

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Title: Swift as Desire

Author:  Laura Esquivel

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, August 2002

Summary: Swift as Desire focuses on Lluvia, a middle aged mother desperately trying to replay her entire life in order to understand her parents’ mutual anger for one another. Júbilo, her father, was born with an unmatched ability to communicate and understand through feeling rather than words, but is now confined to a bed and unable to speak due to Parkinson’s. Lluvia’s mother Lucha was a privileged beauty who gave up everything in order to marry Júbilo, but has now become cold and calculating. The story finds Lluvia desperate to understand her parents’ past and reconcile them before her father’s imminent death.

The story skips around in time, leaving the reader on edge throughout the entire book. The characters develop smoothly, and leave a deep impression. Nothing is as it seems with the family, which makes an unforgettable read. If readers are looking for another Like Water for Chocolate, they won’t find it here. Instead, they will find a brutally honest look into the closed doors of a marital relationship and a couple falling apart.

Who will like this book? Readers who are looking for a relatively short but still very engaging story. Those who are prepared to love and hate each and every character, sometimes at the same time, but still hope for a happy ending

If you liked this, try this: Like Water for Chocolate also by Esquivel

Recommended by: LB, Circulation Assistant

The Lonely Polygamist

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Title: The Lonely Polygamist

Author: Brady Udall

Publisher: W.W. Norton, May 2010

Summary: Golden Richards is in a bit of a pickle. With four wives, 28 children and a failing construction business, he doesn’t see how he can lead his struggling brood through the next few months, let alone into the glory of eternal life. Heartbroken over the loss of a beloved daughter, he finds himself drifting further away from the responsibilities of life at home, staying at his distant job site for longer and longer stretches of time. Each day seems to bring a new challenge that  tests Golden’s faith – the only work he can find is building a brothel in the Nevada desert and the unexpected temptation he finds there is surprising. Devastated and desolate, Golden teeters on the edge of the abyss, all the while knowing that if he fails he will drag his immense family with him.

Set in the 1980s, this funny, heart-wrenching story, told in the voices of Golden, questioning newest wife Trish, rambunctious young son Rusty (a boy nicknamed ‘The Family Terrorist’) and the Richards’ house itself will  delight the fans of Udall’s first book The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. It is a surprising, beautifully written story about reconciliation with your hopes, dreams, family, and place in the wider world.

Who will like this book?: This is a great book for all fans of family fiction, and serious literary readers. Anyone looking  for a long, engrossing book to savor this summer.

If you like this, try this: Udall’s debut, The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Nobodies Album

Title: The Nobodies Album

Author:  Carolyn Parkhurst

Publisher: Knopf, June 2010

 Summary: Writer Octavia Frost and her son Milo had a game they used to play together when he was a young boy.  He’d ask “have you ever heard the Beatles version of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad?” And she’d say, no, I didn’t know they’d ever recorded that.  He’d respond “they didn’t, it’s on The Nobodies Album.”  So “The Nobodies Album” is an album made up of songs that don’t exist.  It also happens to be the working title of Octavia’s yet-to-be published book, which is made up entirely of the last chapters of all her previous novels, completely rewritten with the purpose of taking her characters in the exact opposite direction she’d originally taken them – a book made up of endings that don’t exist.

It seems that Octavia is a woman who’s trying to bring many things into existence, and trying to change lots of original endings. Octavia’s relationship with her son and her career as a writer are at the top of the list, and the two are woven together brilliantly in this novel.  It is when Octavia’s on her way to deliver the manuscript of “The Nobodies Album” to her publisher that she sees her son’s name displayed in the news crawl in Times Square – Milo, a successful musician, has been accused of murdering his girlfriend.  This is the beginning of her journey back to Milo – they haven’t spoken in four years.  And it’s also the beginning of the reader’s journey through Octavia’s fiction.  The novel is interspersed with the last chapters of her previous books, both the original and the revised endings.  The family drama, the short story and the classic mystery all come together in Parkhurst’s incredibly creative, inventive and unforgettable book.

Recommended by: Mary, Branch Reference

The Tale of Halcyon Crane

TitleThe Tale of Halcyon Crane

Author:  Wendy Webb

Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.,  March 2010

Summary: Hallie James has lived her life believing that her mother Madlyn was killed in a fire when Hallie was a small child. Now 35 years old, Hallie is dealing with her divorce and her father’s terminal illness. When she receives an envelope in the mail, she is shocked to find it contains a letter from her mother. As it turns out, Madlyn has lived the last 30 years believing that Hallie and her father were killed in a kayaking accident on the lake. The letter from Madlyn is accompanied by a letter from her attorney breaking the news that Madlyn has recently passed away. In order to find out why her father went to such lengths to keep her from her mother, Hallie travels to her mother’s home on Grand Manitou, a remote island in the Great Lakes. It isn’t long before Hallie realizes that something supernatural inhabits the mansion and grounds which she has just inherited.

The Tale of Halcyon Crane is an unnerving ghost story that’s setting on a secluded island makes it even creepier.

Who will like this book? Ghost story aficionados.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Last Night in Montreal

TitleLast Night in Montreal

Author:  Emily St. John Mandel

Publisher: Unbridled Books, April 2010

Summary: When Lilia’s father abducts her in the middle of the night, the 7 year old willingly goes with him. Some might say she was rescued, not kidnapped. From that night on, Lilia and her father move across the United States, never staying in one place for more than a few months. Now, as an adult, Lilia doesn’t know how to stay anywhere for very long. She has become quite adept at leaving people behind, and most people have easily let her go. That is, until Eli. Eli’s life seemed so much better with Lilia in it that he cannot bear to think of his life without her.

This is a story of obsession and the effect it has on everyone involved. From Lilia who is obsessed with moving on, to Eli who travels to another country to find her. From Christopher, the detective hired years ago to find Lilia, to Michaela, his daughter who he abandoned in his effort to find the missing girl. Michaela is the greatest victim here. Her wounds are so deep and her pain so obvious, it is heartbreaking to know that it was all caused by her father’s obsession to search for someone who did not want or need to be found.

Who will like this book? Anyone.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Amandine

TitleAmandine

Author:  Marlena de Blasi

Publisher: Random House, May 2010

Summary: Amandine is the first novel written by Marlena de Blasi, an author known for her memoir writing. The story is captivating and the author’s writing is simply beautiful, filled with sense details and unforgettable characters. Amandine is born out of wedlock into an aristocratic family in Krakow, Poland in 1931. She is born with a heart defect and not expected to survive. Under the pretext of bringing her to a hospital in Switzerland, Amandine’s  grandmother brings her to a remote convent in France. The Countess arranges to leave the child at the convent with a large sum of money and in the care of a governess, Solange Jouffroi. As a young child, Amandine is doted on by the nuns, Pere Philippe and Solange, but suffers cruelty and humiliation at the hands of the Abbess Mother Paul and the other children attending school at the convent. This cruelty, compounded by the abandonment by her mother, causes Amandine to believe there is something wrong with her. After a tragedy involving Amandine is barely averted, Solange takes her on a harrowing journey north through occupied France toward the governess’s home. Leaving their sheltered life in the convent, the pair discovers the horrors of war all around them. Meanwhile, Amandine’s birth mother, having just recently discovered that her child did not die at the hospital in Switzerland, has begun her own journey to find her. This is a story that will stay with you long after you’ve read it.

Who will like this book? Fans of historical fiction.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

TitleSaving CeeCee Honeycutt

Author:  Beth Hoffman

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books, January 2010

Summary: Twelve year old CeeCee Honeycut is struggling to find normalcy in her chaotic life. Her mother is suffering from a mental illness and her father stays away from home as much as possible. Ceecee is left alone to care for her mother, confiding in her only friend, Mrs. Odell. When a tragic event turns CeeCee’s world upside down, it’s her Great Aunt Tootie to the rescue. Tootie brings CeeCee down to her home in beautiful Savannah where  CeeCee learns about her mother’s childhood and what it feels like to be unconditionally loved. This is a delightful debut novel that brings to life the beauty of the south and the strength of a family’s love.

Who will like this book? Fans of women’s fiction and anyone who liked The Secret Life of Bees should try this.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Where the God of Love Hangs Out

Title: Where The God of Love Hangs Out

Author: Amy Bloom

Publisher: Random House, January 2010

Summary: Amy Bloom’s new collection of short stories will make you laugh, cry, cringe and gasp and it is possible that you will feel all these emotions in just one story. In this book there are two sets of stories that are intertwined and then there are four stand alone stories. One set of stories revolve around William, Isabel, Clare and Charles who are old friends until two of them start an affair. The other set of stories are about a mother and her stepson and what foolishly happens after the death of her husband! Bloom writes about life and love in a real way which is sometimes messy, sometimes raw and sometimes joyous. The characters are so memorable and each story will leave you satisfied but also hungering for more! Bloom explores the themes of love, aging and death with such grace and gusto that she will blow you away. At the core of every story is family in all their glory – good, bad and ugly. I could not put this book down and then it stayed with me long after the last page.

Who will like this book? Fans of Amy Bloom’s Away.

Recommended by: Claudia, Circulation