Title: Without a Map: A Memoir
Author: Meredith Hall
Publisher: Beacon, April 2007
Summary: If you think you had problems as a teen, try finding yourself pregnant at 16, being disowned by your family, and shunned by everyone in your community. This memoir takes place in the 1960’s in a small New Hampshire town. Hall’s parents are divorced. She is sent away from her family, friends, and school to live with her father and stepmother where she is basically ostracized in an attempt to hide her pregnancy. She is forced to give up the baby and then spends her early adulthood wandering and longing for the baby she gave up and the parents who betrayed her.
She eventually reconnects with her son when he is a young adult, but it is bittersweet as he has been adopted by a family who lived in poverty and had abused him. Hall ultimately helps to care for her aging parents, offering them what they were never able to offer her. She is brutally honest in recalling her life. She takes responsibility for her mistakes. Hers is a story about hope, survival, and finding forgiveness.
Recommended by: Barbara, Head of Children’s Services
Title: Red 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
Title: The Poacher’s Son
Author: Paul Doiron
Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur, May 2010
Summary: Mike Bowditch is a game warden for the state of Maine. Perhaps he chose this career to make amends for his father’s criminal acts. His father, Jack, is a Vietnam vet who has been divorced from Mike’s mother for several years. Since the divorce, Jack has tried to live as far from people as possible, living off the land and poaching game.
When two men are gunned down in an ambush, all evidence leads to Jack. One of the dead men is a Sheriff’s deputy and the other is a representative from Wendigo Timberlands, a company that has recently purchased close to half a million acres of forestland. Included in the purchase was land that had been used for privately owned camps and sporting lodges, one of the camps belonging to Jack As a child, Mike suffered from abuse and neglect at the hands of his father, but he cannot believe his father is capable of murder and sets out to prove his innocence.
The wilderness setting and the added family drama make “The Poacher’s Son” a compelling story. As an animal lover, however, I could have done without the descriptions of Jack’s hunting and trapping practices. In fact, I had to skim over the graphic details. Other than that, I really enjoyed this story and hope to hear more about Mike Bowditch in the future.
Who will like this book? Mystery fans and hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator