Diane's Reviews > The Cradle

The Cradle by Patrick Somerville
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Apr 09, 2009

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Read in April, 2009

In Patrick Somerville's debut novel: The Cradle, two stories are woven together -- both stories are about family histories.

In the first story we meet Marissa and Mark. Marrissa is very pregnant with the couple's first child. She becomes obsessed with locating an antique Civil War cradle that her mother took with her when she abandoned the family many years earlier. Matt, wanting to please his wife, as this cradle seems so important to her, sets out on a mission to find it. Along the way, he reconnects his past, and is faced to revisit his own childhood abandonment, neglect, and years of abuse that took place in various foster homes and orphanages.

As Matt and Marissa's story moves forward, another story travels backward: with a middle-aged couple sending their only son off to war in Iraq. This event brings to life memories of the past on the part of the wife, involving her first love and abandonment issues of her own. Eventually, the two story lines come together for the reader.

Marissa and Matt's story takes place in 1997 and the other story in 2008. The stories are told in alternating chapters. I found it confusing at times to keep track of the time lines as the chapters kept switching back and forth between the couples. This 200 page debut novel was interesting enough to keep my attention, although I did have the story figured out before I was half way through.

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