Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book Review: Red Hook Road

I read and enjoyed Ayelet Waldman's last book Love and Other Impossible Pursuits (which was later made into a movie with Natalie Portman). The only problem I had with that book was a bit of trouble liking the flawed main character. (Don't get me wrong; I like complicated MC's, but I struggled with this one.)

I did not have that problem with Red Hook Road. The chapters alternate character's perspectives, which I love. (I wrote Monsoon Season that way.) The story is told in omniscient, actually, so while each chapter focuses on a different character, there's quite a bit of head-hopping within each chapter. I'm pretty sure my writing professors would say she broke some "rules", but I'd say this is a good example that a good writer can ignore all the rules she wants.

The plot sounds a bit morbid: in the first chapter, a bride and groom die in a car wreck on their way to the reception. As the story unfolds, the two very different families try to figure out how to relate to one another, while wondering whether they really have to. It's blue collar vs. white collar; out-of-towner vs, local; stoic vs. emotional. But in the end, their grief unites them and the love for family is a common thread.

I'm happy to see Waldman has another book, Daughter's Keeper, which I'll read very soon.

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