Update: I already shared how I feel about this book ...Pretty Damn moved!! The novel's achievement is deeply affecting.
Regina Patterson KenI'm Back:
Update: I already shared how I feel about this book ...Pretty Damn moved!! The novel's achievement is deeply affecting.
Regina Patterson Kendall (Reggie), is 35 years old. She's married to Howie - a corporate lawyer. They have two daughters: Katelyn is 13. Lindsay is 11. Regina was raised with a liberal New England upbringing - taught to respect diversity....an appreciation of valuing of races, religions, and cultures different from her own.
Her father, Arthur Claredon Patterson, ( Daddy), is an anthropologist. He's a Professor..but rather considers himself a scholar..."a student of life". He specializes in primitive ritualistic music and dance. Her mother, Margaret Harrington Patterson, (Maggie), is a lover of literature - also a librarian. Her grandmother, Abigail Claredon Patterson, ( Abby), is an artist. So...Reggie, an only child - was raised by three bright - artistic - compassionate adults -they had a big influence on her life. ..... But so did the year she spent in Northern Arizona when she was a teenager. "Daddy" took his family with them to live in the town of Harden. It was a year sabbatical. "Daddy" went to study the Hopi. "Maggie" got involved with the local library, her animals and fixing up the little house they lived in. Reggie was about to experience a life that was completely different from the one back in Boston.
Reggie is sobbing while talking to Maggie ( it's a rare event when she calls her mother 'mom'). Her husband is fine. Her kids are fine. Like there is nothing else? "You know what I am, Maggie? What I've become? A Boston Proper mannequin playing out a shop-worn role". The conversation continue about Howie's accomplishments - discussions about her privileged life....( smug, superficial, and superfluous, with little freedom and even less excitement). Reggie can't remember when she and Howie have really talked - communicated ...or had they ever? Boating..shipbuilding ..the legal system, corporate structure and government regulation... and she knew a lot about the politics of law. They had talked about their future as a couple...."Howie's future".... But 'their' future?.... Oh my...."it was like laying out a blueprint and making sure all the lines were straight and all the rooms in proper sequence".
So, Reggie looks like she is breaking down. She is. There is quite a scene she makes publicly which is crazy fun for us to read - very embarrassing if in her shoes - or husband's shoes. The plan is GET HELP!!! This woman needs HELP!!! What to do? Therapy is option. ( Maggie's suggestion)... Reggie declines - for now. Reggie calls Abby...( Queen of all Grandmothers...can I have one like her???). Abby has Reggie over for lunch. Reggie plans to poor her heart out - and ask for advice. She hears a couple of wonderful stories of her own from grandma Abby -- learns more about her dad - -and Abby. They, too, were once young ...'spirited' ...with artistic temperaments...( and juicy stories). Abby tells Reggie to GO BACK "Retrace your steps, revisit your memories. And perhaps you'll find a new route home. To resolution to satisfaction".
Abby, is a quiet minor character in this novel who leaves an impression... Reggie is leaving... "Abby waves from the steps, silver hair a halo in the sunlight. She looks so much like a part of the house". "A grand house, stately and gracious, warm and comfortable, sprawled on its secluded, broad- lawned knoll, protected by trees and gardens. Blue-gray, pre-Victorian, with wide overhung Veranda, large windows, generously giving light, gabled servants quarters on the third floor, oversized fireplaces throughout. And a deep bay in the sitting room where Reggie spent hours curled on the cushioned window seat reading 'Jane Eyre', 'Anne of Green Gables', 'Green Mansions', "Anna Karenina', and 'Wuthering Heights'.
What I haven't described yet... is what Reggie's life was like for her in Harden, Arizona - at age 15. When she first arrived, she thought the locals inhabitants talked funny-- were simple people, not educated, and maybe not too bright. She never heard so much laughter and cussing--( friggin - humpin - screwin) Over the year...she becomes friends with the local 'gang' of 'good' kids: Betts, Trixie, Billie, Ruthie, Curt, Walt, Glenn, Freddy..etc. The other female who is even a candidate for competition academically is Clydene Orton. There are beach days, days spent at the swimming pool - swim team at the local High School -dances - Prom- root beer floats at the Dairy Queen or cherry comes at Walgreen, 'gang showers'. ( oh, you're in for fun reading about these shenanigans), And: Casey Colter ....love of Reggie's life ..... a perilous relationship?/!? I could write pages about this relationship ( By the way--I happen to think Reggie is responsible for creating her own happiness -she's not a victim - not that she claims to be--but this is a complex relationship that haunts her soul)--details - my thoughts - and feelings - how I felt it shaped Reggie. I've thought about the entire sabbatical year for hours - how STRONGLY 1 year can shape a person's life forever ...especially at an impressionable age. I haven't stopped thinking about this. ( I also remember my own 2 year run-away adventure when I left the country at age 19 and what that did to me). I was a little older than Reggie... but I took things from those two years that are tattooed on me - only it's not physically visible.
There are a few times Reggie is pulled away from her friends to take a family outing with her parents ... ( she went kicking and screaming - normal teenage pouty-ness of wanting to be with her friends more). Yet... on one of these trips ...her father was invited to attend a baby-naming ceremony. Her father had made friends with a man who carved kachina dolls at the Northern Arizona Museum. His grandson was being named. I read this story three times ... ( way too much to share)....but, it was predawn when they reached the foot of the mesa. They officially entered Indian Country -- the huge wealthy encompassing Navajo Reservation. The houses were small - flat roofed hovels- barely distinguishable from the dirt and rock. There weren't even screens on the Windows or doors. The hard packed earth floor was swept spotlessly clean. The ceremonial hair washing of the baby was a ceremony I had never heard of. - and fascinating ( to me)! Maybe some of you know about "The Corn Mother"?
If a reader is interested in the Hopi ... there is a little information to learn -- but if if this is not 'your thing'... this novel is NOT saturated with being a HOPI NOVEL. I learned in one sentence though that it's only been a few decades that that the Hopi learned of white man's calendar. "The Hopi believe in living each day as it is and not counting their length of time on earth. For them, time is a flow at past and future cupped in the present".
It's possible this is the longest review I've written ( forgive me?) I'm not sure I'm very good at this...and I haven't even talked about when Reggie GOES BACK...and how she bounces around in the hollowness and hypocrisy. As the 'adult' Reggie she is looking at life with new eyes: socioeconomic problems as well as her personal problems. THIS IS ALMOST A 500 novel - packed with juicy drama..(give me a break)... So.. TWO MAIN ---topics... (questions - issues - call it what you want) - that I think about ---BESIDES ... the ease in storytelling, the characters, the lovely writing, the dialogue, the 'flavor', warmth. Humor - the *stories* within this story ... ( the book that Reggie writes within this story), the appreciation of the land - and appreciation of Roberta Parry is 1. A sabbatical year... -and the value people get from them. 2. Why do we sometimes need to - seriously look back - go back - to a specific time in our life... in order to find some type of inner peace? And ... isn't it possible that even the when we are very happy in our present lives - grateful ...we still - at times wish we could re-create a golden-box memory?
One quote ... Just because it's beautiful. Anyone who has been in the desert after a rainstorm can appreciate the many temperaments. "She'd seen tender spring rain, the color of young willows, like the time they'd visited the Sonoran Desert, between Phoenix and Tucson. It had been Easter break, they'd watched from their motel balcony. The sky had gradually veiled over, a high gray light suffused with pale yellow. The shower never reached them, but they could hear and smell it. A soft hushed patter sweeping across sand releasing stored sun in moist redolent waves. It made Reggie's mouth water, literally. She'd wanted to eat sand". "Next day they drove into it. The desert it seemed had come to life overnight. They stood on a high sand dune, gazing across miles and miles of color". "Splashes of Mexican goldpoppy. Patches of purple owl clover and lavender sand verbena. Streaks of blue lupine. Strokes of white primrose. Splotches of pink and peach globe allow. Dashes of scarlet penstemon and dabs of flaming paintbrush". "The fragrance was narcotic". "They couldn't speak. Didn't want to. Finally Maggie shook head -- I heard about this sort of thing. I didn't believe it. I still don't". "It was like being in the middle of a Van Gogh painting".
Thank you for those who read this review. It's long. I expect many might skip over it-- I can't blame you --we each have much to do - read ourselves! But THANK YOU!!!! I didn't even come close to giving spoilers away - so not to worry!!!
Mostly ...I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! ......this story & characters have entered my consciousness.
Thank you Roberta Parry!!! You are an inspiration...and I wish you all the success in the world. You deserve it!!!
Review to follow: but starters: This is one of the best books I've read in years!!!!! It took me 2 to 3 weeks to finish. I spent as many hours thinking about this book -when 'not' reading it. I had other books to read --so it wasn't the only book I was reading at the time --but it was THE BOOK that was living in my heart deeply everywhere I went. My hiking has increased -- 50 to 70 miles a week -- I would be listening to opera music --'thinking'....(I'm tired of autiobooks -and besides books don't connect on the trails I've been hiking recently) -- so I would hike and 'think'........about this book "Killing Time".
I was SHOCKED to discover how wonderful this book was --(right from the start). I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I told Roberta Parry I would read her book. We had been friends here on GR's for many months prior. -- I read it slow because I didn't want to miss one word -one sentence. Its rich --so rich in quality --complex - wonderful story -great characters -much to think about --gorgeous writing.
Roberta Parry is in her 70's She is self published. I've 'never' -ever- read a better book by an indi -writer. By the way --she is an amazing painter. She designed the water-colored cover of this book as well. Her paintings are in galleries in Santa Fe and New Mexico. I had seen her 'artwork'.....but I didn't 'get' that she was a writer, 'too'. Why 'every' major publishing company is not fighting over her book --I have no idea. Maybe?? its because they fear its too long. Or...truth...........they must not have read the book!
I haven't had the experience of wanting to savor a book -like this one - in a long time. I didn't care how long it took me to read it --or how many times I re-read pages --just because I wanted to... I was in no rush! ....................
So.....I hope you come back... I plan to write a more detail review of this book soon, with a few favorite quotes,.... early next week! In the meantime: Happy week-end to all! Many Congrats. to Roberta Parry...'outstanding' novel! Thank you for the gift!!!!
** authors I would compare Roberta to --in quality: (combinations of all of these) Ian McEwan, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Anne Tyler ............. Roberta also has a very unique style of her own: There is a story within this story....You can count on: "humor, drama, sex, mystery, murder, and woven throughout, the soul of the novel, the Hopi way of Life".
Before.... Edie is the new girl at the High School in the small town of Fremton. She has natural beauty -- and is naturally well liked by other studentBefore.... Edie is the new girl at the High School in the small town of Fremton. She has natural beauty -- and is naturally well liked by other students. She is socially -appropriate... could be considered popular... But is comfortable enough in her skin to mix with all types of friends. She doesn't measure who she is by having to hang out with the 'cool kids'. Heather, is actually one of the first students Edie meets. Heather feels lucky to be talking to such a beautiful new girl in school - she makes it her mission to become fast best friends. Edie is willing to be Heathers friend ( she doesn't know many people yet). Heather doesn't glide through social circles easy. Not only is she over-weight..she's constantly judging others and/or herself. Her classmates don't warm to her easily. Although these two teenage girls are very different from one another, Edie and Heather 'do' share a common experience from having had trauma in their childhood. There strongest connection is their being able to relate to each other's unhappy family lives. When Edie meets a boy she likes - Conner - ( hot-throb-dominant -bad-boy) -Edie begins to fall under Conner's spell of alcohol, drugs, sex, and late nights. The girls friendship don't just suffer minor challenges over 'a guy'... rather a horrific tragedy happens. Edie moves away from the town - in with her uncle-
After..... Sixteen years later....Heather knocks on Edie's door. What the hell does she want??? Edie is pregnant - single - working as a waitress - she has enough problems to deal with -- and she sure does not want this old friend - whom she ended on bad terms anywhere near her.... BUT... Edie weakens. After her baby arrives along with postpartum depression - and lacking for money ...she lets Heather back into her life. Edie even begins to question herself if she has misinterpreted things from years ago with Heather.
We, as the readers begin to question who is unstable. This story sometimes reminded me of the movie "Single White Female" with Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It had the same pulse-pounding psychological shocker ending.
The BIG question I'm left with...."what are the chances that an old injure friendship can work a 2nd time around 16 years later?"
Great one sitting read!!! Thank You Berkley Publishing Group, Netgalley, and Camilla Way
"The first twenty-four hours after Julie's reappearance are oddly similar to the first twenty-four hours after her disappearance, a mirror symmetry th"The first twenty-four hours after Julie's reappearance are oddly similar to the first twenty-four hours after her disappearance, a mirror symmetry that lends extra significance to every detail".
Julie was taken from her home when she was 13 years old. Her younger sister June, was in a closet and was the only witness. June didn't move from that closet for about three hours. Eight years later Julie comes back-- 21 years old--she literally shows up on the doorstep.
It's assumed Julie had been sold to a human trafficking ring, then to some drug lord. Other than a little dehydrated, and not having eaten much in days.... "She seems fine, all things considered", one of the detectives told Julie's parents. She's in shock and needs to see a therapist. So... therapy is part of the immediate plans.
To get through the first week, Julie's mother takes her shopping.... She doesn't know what else to do with the 21-year-old woman who shows up to replace her missing 13-year-old daughter. As you might image - adjusting to the happiness of having their daughter home is actually traumatic. Normal routines just don't feel normal. Jane is in college...but is home. She is taller than her older sister. There is suppressed communications -from each of the family members. And...something is very fishy!!!
Something is 'off'. Is Julie even their daughter? The mystery- storytelling will keep you turning pages. I was tucked under my covers during the dark quiet hours, 'having' to know what the hell was going on. I had an idea things were not as they seemed - however - I did not - at all - guess the theme from where this story grew. It was damn interesting. I'm still thinking about it.
The author did something at the beginning of the book, though, which I can't decide if I see it as a strength or a flaw. I know I thought about it ( certainly it was a choice). She didn't go much into vivid details of how deeply the family members were emotionally affected from the inconceivable and debilitating shock during their 8 years Julie was gone. Rather... the story moved rather quickly into the 'return' of Julie. And then it's a mystery-ride....who? what? when? and why?
It's GOOD! Quick read ... keeps you thinking!
Thank You Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Netgalley, and Amy Gentry