In her second memoir, romance and mystery writer Theresa Weir writes the antithesis of a romance: the story o...moreReviewed from e-arc provided by NetGalley
In her second memoir, romance and mystery writer Theresa Weir writes the antithesis of a romance: the story of a man who deserted his true love, and their children, for the sake of a wealthy lifestyle with a much older woman. It's also a mystery that will never be solved.
The first person narrative alternates between young Theresa's past, a harrowing story of children left at the mercy of an insane and abusive mother, and present day Theresa's attempts to connect with the father she had seen "fewer than twenty times since he and my mother divorced fifty years ago," who has Alzheimer's disease. The story of her relationship with her father, what there was of it, is a history of neglect and slights: a rare visit to his wealthy home, where she finds her Christmas presents to him still unopened months later; a desperate letter that got no response. Yet somehow she can't quite let the connection go, despite how much he deserves it, despite how pointless it is:
Alzheimer's has removed the chance of my being able to find closure and possibly forgive him. I always thought someday we would discuss what happened, and maybe I would eventually come to understand why he did what he did. But now, even when he's right in front of me, I know I'll never have the answers I need. Everything is unfinished.
Yet it's not at all an unsatisfying book, though like The Orchard, it's certainly a painful one to read. Although Weir's questions may never be answered, her raw testimony is powerful and important.(less)
I'm not going to rate this, since I read only a very small portion, but seeing that not one reviewer has mentioned how incredibly derivative it is, I...more I'm not going to rate this, since I read only a very small portion, but seeing that not one reviewer has mentioned how incredibly derivative it is, I feel like I have make note of that. This is the first page of the glossary. If you can read it without busting out laughing, this book may be for you.
ach A brother. adohn A term of respect; means lord of the house or ruler. bahshrett The one being who is your true equal, the other half of your soul. One cannot fully live as the Creator intended until he or she is found. Behnshma Supernatural beings created by the Sonh to be protectors to the Followers. There are seven Behnshma Septs, or divisions, around the earth. chemda A term of endearment; means precious or sweetheart. choghen A priest. ebhed A servant employed by Trihune members. For their servitude, ebhed receive a longer lifespan void of illness and protection for themselves and family members. Fallen Dead beings created by Apollyon that must consume souls in order to survive. Followers Humans created by the Creator. nheqeba A female. pnachum A ritual employed when a Trihune member severely wrongs another member. Shaydes Supernatural beings created by the Holyspiryt. Shaydes guard the gate between the heavens and the underworld. They can be called upon by other Trihune members in time of need as a last resort. Trinyty Comprised of the Fathyr, the Sonh, and the Holyspiryt. Created by the Creator to be His guardians and confidants. With the Creator, they are one, sharing his innermost thoughts, and He theirs.(less)
If I had to choose one word to describe how this book made me feel, I think it would be "shivery." It's an...more(reviewed from e-arc provided by NetGalley)
If I had to choose one word to describe how this book made me feel, I think it would be "shivery." It's an intense read in so many ways, but when new prison librarian Anne started transcribing a letter for Eric, a convict with dysgraphia, and it became clear to me that the intense words of desire were intended for her, I almost hyperventilated. And as Anne continues to transcribe and moves from jealousy of the unknown recipient to realization of the truth... oh my.
The set-up here is weird, even creepy, and McKenna doesn't do anything to soften it. Anne begins her job knowing women who work with male convicts are vulnerable to being sweet-talked and manipulated, even possibly threatened. We see her undergo rigorous security procedures and agree to a careful code of conduct. And we know from her narrative that she's often frightened. But when she sees Eric, she feels sexual desire for the first time since her ex-boyfriend beat her up five years ago... setting her free of the prison in her own mind. She convinces herself that since he's in prison, it's okay to indulge those feelings a little: "...he's dangerous but this crush -- if that's what it is -- is safe."
The situation made me deeply uncomfortable, yet I don't know how anyone could have resisted Eric's powerfully yearning letters, which speak to a very deep place inside Annie. I was made uncomfortable in a different way by the fact that Eric's many upstanding virtues -- work ethic, respect for women -- are depicted as highly unusual amongst his trailer-park peers. Here's how he talks about his father:
'He's a loser, basically. Lazy. Ignorant.' 'Bummer.' 'He's just how they make them, back home.'
Yikes. However, that is balanced by a later, more nuanced picture of his background, seen through Annie's eyes.
Issues of class, loyalty, and trust continue to make the story interesting long after the initial conflict is gone. And the inevitable reintroduction of Annie's abusive ex is handled very well, nothing like the plot cliche you might expect.
It's not a cozy story, that's for sure. But you don't get shivers from being cozy. B+(less)