Monday, March 3, 2008

Not easy "sitting by the pool" reading, but then I don't have a pool...

I read. A lot. I went through a "bodice ripper" stage when I was younger, where I would read historical romance novels (Moi? Non!). The ones I would read would never have a cover depicting Fabio and some buxom blond with ripped bodice. I had higher tastes. No Harlequin Romances for me.

Then, I changed gears and dove into crime novels and psychological thrillers. Usually Catherine Coutier (who started off writing historical romance) and Jonothan Kellerman. But what they all had in common was typical good guys, bad guys, the hero saved the day, everyone who deserved to be happy in the end, was. Oh, and some damsel got her bodice ripped.

Other words, very predictable story lines.

My mom was an avid reader, too, and since her passing, I have been acquiring her stacks of books. So, I am faced with books that I would have not normally picked out for myself, siting in boxes. Okay, I could send them off to the SA, or Goodwill, but, I decided to read one that just happened to be sitting on top of the pile.

It was a book written in first person, a story of a young man forced into responsibility for his 3 yonuger sisters after the murder of his father at the hands of his mother. The father was abusive towards his children, in turn, the son now fights his own abusive thoughts towards women, and towards some of his sisters. The reader hear his fleeting thoughts of wanting to grab a girl he takes on on a date by the back of her head and slamming her face against a framed picture she had found of his parents on their wedding day. He doesn't act upon his impulses. But they are still there, and he reports them as matter of fact.

The main character of the story, who is telling his story is flawed compared to main characters I have read in the past. But the author has written his plight in a way where the reader could possibly feel sympathy for him, even as we are shocked by his behavior.

The ending doesn't get wrapped up in a nice, neat little package. In fact, the ending made me feel kind of empty, and I figured out why. I was so used to reading books that told me how to feel. The story wasn't predictable. The story wasn't passive for the reader, meaning, it made me question why I felt sympathy for someone who had thoughts of seriously injuring women. I had to come up with my own conclusion on the the main character. Was he evil with his thoughts of bashing someone up the head? Was it okay for him to feel this way becasue of what he witnessed as a child?

If anyone is interested, the book is Back Roads, written by Tawni O'Dell. And, yes, I would recommend it.

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