|Not for the faint of heart.|
It is difficult to review too much of the story without spoiling the book. Simply put, a traditional family of five has what seems like the perfect life. Dad and mom love each other and their three teenage children are all on their way to being productive members of society. Their middle son Max, seems a bit depressed, but nothing that some extra love, attention and an occasional therapy session can't fix, right? Their home is a peaceful setting that revolves around family dinners, sporting events and teenage sleepovers. All is right with the world until secret relationships are exposed and love goes awry. It is ugly. The pain is real. The grief is numbing. The healing must begin. As a reader I felt every bit of the pain, grief and eventual healing. As a mother and wife I felt those emotions amplified by 100. In other words, put on your big girl panties before you read this book.
Sound heavy? Yeah, it was. Really heavy, in fact. But it was also beautfully written and breathtakingly real. I must not have paid much attention to the story line on the back cover when I picked up the book and as a result I wasn't ready when the tragedy hit. And because the writing was so realisitc I didn't see it coming, either. I didn't feel the overwhelming sense of dread that I normally feel when reading a book and I know something tragic is about to happen. I was too caught up in the characters and their everyday lives that so mimicked mine (or what mine could be in a few years) that I was stunned when things went wrong.
For those of you that are Jodi Picoult fans, think Jodi on steroids. When I read a Jodi Picoult novel, my guts hurt and I need to stop after every few chapters and take a break. When I read this novel, my heart ached but I couldn't put it down. It made me want to lock my children in the their rooms and not let anyone into my house again. Tempting? Yes. Realistic? No. What is realistic, then? After reading this, it has to be love. Lots and lots of love.
Who else has read this book? What did you think? Tell us...