Julia Lambert, an artist, is spending the summer in her old Maine farmhouse. During a visit from her elderly parents, she hopes to mend complicated relationships with her domineering father, a retired neurosurgeon, and her gentle mother, who is descending into the fog of Alzheimer's. But a shattering revelation intrudes: Julia's son, Jack, has spiraled into heroin addictio...more
Most of the story t ...more
1) Rapidly deteriorating mental conditions of both parents - a tragedy in itself.
2) A rift between two sisters, misunderstandings that have deepened into resentment and division
3) A divorce between Julia, the protagonist and elder sister, and her husband Wendell, resulting in Wendell's remarri ...more
The most amazing aspect of this novel is its writing. The use of short sentences not only gave the narration its rhythmic flow that is akin to a poem. This rhythmic flow also somehow mimics the thumps of an emotional human heart. The plot is about an extended family whose youngest member, 22-year old Jack, is a heroin addict. The narration is full of human emotions. Out of the 99 books (belonging to 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die - 2010 edition) that I read so far, th ...more
I found myself curiously untouched by the characters, however. Primarily, I think, because the heroin-addicted Jack, is not developed beyond his addiction, so it's difficult for a reader to care.
The book is heavily weighted toward ...more
An artist and professor, Julia departs to her summer home in Maine, to try and connect with her tyrannical father, a former surgeon now retired, and her aging mother, suffering from signs of early Alzheimer’s disease. In her father’s presence, Julia feels anger. Constantly. She tries to delve into it, to understand it. She remembers moments ...more
...and that was the most redeeming thing about this book...
"She felt grief for her own cold, unfathered childhood, and rage at herself, for making it last so long, and for holding fast to resentment, and for never becoming better than she was." from "Cost: A Novel" by Roxana Robinson
"You could only be sure you would never be free of what had happened." from "Cost: A Novel" by Roxana Robinson
"What should you do, when you saw something going wrong? ...more
Julia’s son is a heroin addict. She enlists the help of her sister, ex—husband, eldest son, and parents to help save Jack from drug use that usually ends in death. I felt the information on some of the supporting characters was unnecessary: the mother’s early stage Alzheimer’s disease and the sister/father conflict was superfluous background. I wanted to learn more about how the disease shaped the eldest son’s life.
Some of th ...more
This novel tells the story of a family, maybe a bit more complicated than most American families, and what happens as the youngest son is revealed to be addicted to heroin. It's a hard and troubling look into the the life of a junkie. The young son, Jack, wants nothing to do with family. He wants their money, but that's all. His world has narrowed down to heroin and how to pay for it. He pays.
His family's life, though, has expanded tr ...more
It is pretty much a classic what-seems-like-it-will-tear-the-family-apart-actually- brings-it-closer story. It could have been a powerful story about addiction and how an entire family becomes caught in it's vortex. But somehow it wasn't. Partially it is because it takes place against a bac ...more
Take the subject matter: addiction. Surely that brings with it enough drama to sustain 400 pages. But the author introduces an Alzheimer's subplot for good measure, as well as infidelity, a pot ...more
She wondered if all this was different for men. Did they feel it, this endless impulsion toward virtue, the sense of obligation? She thought they did not. What a relief not to have this endless beat in your head, the fear of making mistakes, of letting people down, of disappointing them and the world. Did men not have it? Was it only women who were so intent on being go ...more
The elusive fifth star is withheld because she might have gone slightly overboard on the development of charachter. Harriet was unneccessary, and the story could have ...more
This is definitely not a "feel-good" book--but I think it's realistic. What did I learn from this book? Heroin hurts. Yikes!
Although this book is mainly about relationships between family members, the plot is grip ...more