Thursday, November 27, 2008

Not enough of a diversion

"There's something hugely wrong in my life and I'm helpless to change it."

That's the theme of this beautifully written book, and perhaps that's why I didn't enjoy it as much as Shields' more distant-from-real-life, Pulitzer Prize winning "The Stone Diaries."

The book follows Canadian novelist Reta Winters through a time in her life when everything is going splendidly. She has a new book deal, she's in love with her husband of two decades, she has great friends, a cozy home, and is the mother of three beautiful daughters. Yet her oldest daughter, Norah, has inexplicably dropped out of college, renounced all worldly possessions and cut all ties with her family to become a street urchin. And so Reta muddles through her life while always keeping Norah in mind, visiting her street corner and the homeless shelter where she sleeps to bring her food and "gifts."

We travel with Reta as she attempts to keep the status quo when the figurative alarm bells are going off.

Shields is able to aptly inject humor into a routinely sad daily life. The novel was entertaining, yet frustrating. And when I got the happy ending that I hoped for throughout the novel, I felt somehow cheated.

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