Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Review: Daughter's Keeper

This is the third book I've read by Ayelet Waldman and it is probably my favorite. It also happens to be the first of the three that she wrote, although she has also penned a series of mystery novels I have not read.

Daughter's Keeper is told in multiple third person narration, which is an extremely effective way of getting the reader to become emotionally attached not only to the main character Olivia, but also her mother, Elaine. We are even forced to sympathize with the boyfriend who gets Olivia involved and arrested for his illegal activities. We find ourselves understanding Elaine's fiancee's inability to support her.

Waldman is expert at her depiction of the complicated mother/daughter relationship. Every interaction between Olivia and Elaine is thick with their history of built up resentment and guilt, an intense love that can often overwhelm and feel burdensome, the competing desires to please and to hurt complicating every moment.

I particularly enjoyed the glimpse into the world of mandatory minimums. Waldman uses her real life experience as a public defense attorney to serve as the backdrop for this story. Olivia is a fictional example of all the real people failed by our justice system's disastrous war on drugs.

I'm excited to see that Waldman will be releasing her fourth novel, Love and Treasure, in April. I have already added it to my Amazon wish list.

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