Jennifer's Reviews > The Cradle

The Cradle by Patrick Somerville
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's review
May 19, 2010

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Read from May 18 to 19, 2010

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Family is the central theme in Patrick Somerville's debut novel The Cradle, which consists of two differing stories told ten years apart. The reader is first introduced to Matt and Marissa, who are expecting their first child and Marissa, eight months pregnant, is insistent that Matt find the Civil War cradle that mysteriously was stolen from her home when she was 15, the day after her mother walked out on her family. Somerville then propels the reader ahead ten years to present day to meet Renee and Bill Owen whose son is heading to Iraq. As the stories unfold the reader learns a lot about Matt's childhood through flashbacks as he drives all over Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana hunting down the cradle for Marissa. In present day the reader sees the loving Owens and their concern over their son going to Iraq and the flood of memories that come back to Renee as she recalls losing her first love in Vietnam. Somerville's writing style is unique, for the most part his characters seem close to insane and some of the events that unfold are questionable, but the end justifies the means in this novel. I would have liked to read more about the Owens, as I liked them, especially Renee. I also liked and felt for Joe and eventually I could understand why Matt was so eager to please, but the rest of the lot I was not so enamored with. The Cradle is a quick read filled with extremely eccentric, quirky, and some bordering on crazy, characters, and a beautiful message. If a reader is looking for a quirky novel with a good ending, then give The Cradle by Patrick Somerville a try.

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