Sunday, October 28, 2012
G2 Book Review of You are the love of my life by Susan Richards Shreve
Author: Susan Richards Shreve
Type of book: Secrets, lies, family, 1951, 1973, Washington, New York, Nixon, Watergate,
Year it was published: 2012
For fans of Sue Miller, a finely wrought novel of family secrets and the desire for sustaining love.
It is 1973 and the scandal of Watergate is on everyone's lips. Lucy Painter, children's book writer and single mother of two, is leaving New York and the married father of her children to return to the house in the tightly knit Washington, DC, neighborhood where she grew up and where she discovered her father's suicide.
Lucy hopes for a fresh start, but her life is full of secrets: her children know nothing of the circumstances surrounding her father's death or the identity of their own father. And as new neighbors enter their insular lives, the safety and stability of her family are in jeopardy. Lucy knows how to raise children alone, but she fears the world beyond her tiny family and her absent lover. Even as her friendship with a writer next door—whose research threatens to reveal the secret of her father—offers new possibilities, the risks of the outside world begin closing in on Lucy and her family. Beautifully told, You Are the Love of My Life is a story of how shame leads to secrets, secrets to lies, and how lies stand in the way of human connection.
In actions or thoughts the characters were interesting and well rounded, but somehow they couldn't leap off the page for me. I really wanted to like them and be interesting in their lives. I think that perhaps should I re-read the novel in a few months or even a year, perhaps I will enjoy it a lot more, at least I hope I will.
Holding on to secrets or trying to achieve perfection can drive somebody crazy.
This is written in third person narrative from Lucy's, Zee's and Maggie's points of views. There are a number of things that I wish the author would have expanded upon, such as the chemistry between Lucy and one of the neighbors, or perhaps what was wrong with Gabriel or even more about Maggie and Lucy's relationship. I often felt that I only got a glance of the world before it moved on to something else.
Susan Richards Shreve is the author of fourteen novels, a memoir, and twenty-nine books for children. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment grant and is the cochairman of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She lives in Washington, DC.
Although I enjoyed reading the book, I felt at some parts it was disjointed and confusing. I would guess that this is more of the fault with my reading system rather than the book itself; that is this is a book that should be read straight instead of a book that one can easily take breaks with. The whole time I was reading it, I couldn't help but think of today's scenes vs the ones in the book. I'm not sure about now, but somehow I highly doubt that today neighbors are as close as they used to be; I don't know of any neighborhood where people freely walk into one another's houses or where everyone knows everything about everyone. Where I live, things like that were dying out by the early 2000s. I also couldn't understand the mood in the story and I felt that although the characters were fascinating as well as interesting, they weren't drawn well. When Lucy first moves in to Wichita Falls, I really found some actions by the women creepy; entering into the house unknowingly and taking pictures? Or even having a party?
Quick notes: I won this book on goodreads.com thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)