Armand's Reviews > And Give You Peace

And Give You Peace by Jessica Treadway
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's review
Sep 12, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: genre-mod-lit-fic, read-2008
Recommended for: people who like literary fiction.
Read in January, 2008

And Give You Peace is an intense look at the way memory plays out in the wake of a violent event that tears a family apart. As she tries to piece together the moments that led to this tragic event, Anastasia Dolan, the author's protagonist and narrator, provides us with a lens through which we examine the many lives of the Dolan family. Sometimes the lens is wide and gives us a vast sense of the Dolans' history and their place in their city and neighborhood, and at other times the lens focuses and give us intimate memories like that little boy playing jump rope in the pouring rain.

As a reader, I was pulled along both by the dynamic sense of the play of memory and by Anastasia's attempts to put together the many clues she receives so she can construct a clear picture of the tragic event (and the events immediately preceding it).

While the book carries a sense of sadness and does a nice job of describing how any of us can be helpless in the face of pain, it's not a bleak book. And Give You Peace has a lot of lovely writing, lively characters and, surprisingly, some real funny moments including the tendency of people around the tragedy to refer to violence in an offhand way like: "I'd just blow my brains out if that happened to me- oops, sorry."

What I like best is And Give You Peace's ability to clearly describe the way that people work with memory: How certain things keep coming back to us; Why we ignore or repress certain thoughts; Why we choose to have certain memory and feeling stand out; How we search for meaning.

All in all, I recommend the book as an elegant (and sometimes raw) take on what we humans must carry in the wake of violence.

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