Barbara's Reviews > The Bright Forever

The Bright Forever by Lee  Martin
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's review
May 22, 10

Recommended to Barbara by: Susan Sherwin
Read in April, 2010

Lee Martin's sad, but compelling novel has remained in my thoughts as I mull over the events and their significance. He has written a deeply nuanced, complex account. A lovely nine year old girl, from a widely respected, affluent family, has disappeared. The story is narrated in the voices of various inhabitants of town. These speakers blend seamlessly and vivdly to recount their simple lives and their actions relative to the missing child.

Life in this small, insignificant,Indiana town during a sweltering hot summer in the early 70's is vividly portrayed. The disparity of living conditions between the wealthy and the destitute are clearly revealed to the reader.

Martin has created a morally intricate chronicle, addressing the compromises and decisions that people make in their lives and the manner in which they face isolation and grief. Throughout this novel, Martin has woven scenes of self-reflection, tension and suspense which carry the reader to the final pages.

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Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

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Kelly Great review as always Barbara! I'm winding down on the last 100 pages right now, and it's definitely suspenseful, as well as sad and tragic. I hope to finish by tomorrow for sure.

Barbara Thank you, Kelly! Isn't strange how sometimes we find ourselves reading the same book?

Kelly Barbara, I just finished -- so sad!! :( I thought it was so good though, and gave it 5 stars. The author really did a wonderful job in describing the town and the heat, didn't he?? Excellent.

We do often end up reading the same books close to the same time! And they're usually pretty good ones, too, huh!

Barbara I must be a little stingy with the stars. I continue to think about this book. It was written well, with great sensitivity.

Kelly Or else I'm overly generous with the stars!... I hand out an awful lot of 5-star ratings.

I agree that it was beautifully written. I'm glad to have read it, because I was almost thinking, "eh, looks too similar to The Lovely Bones" -- but that wasn't the case at all.

message 6: by Barbara (last edited Apr 24, 2010 01:11PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Barbara No, it is different. I think that it is more realistic, tragic as it is.
I'll be waiting for your review! :)

message 7: by Kelly (last edited Apr 24, 2010 07:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kelly Don't expect too much from my review! lol... I should've written it right after I finished the book :P

...just posted mine :)

Barbara Kelly, you are too modest! It was one of your very best reviews!!

Kelly Really?!? Wow, THANKS!!!!! :)

Barbara Actually, I even enjoy reviews of books you do that I don't plan to read!

message 11: by Maria (new)

Maria Barbara, you've written another great review on what sounds like an interesting novel.

message 12: by Barbara (last edited Apr 26, 2010 04:12PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Barbara Thanks, Maria. It was a sensitive, sad account.

Kelly Ditto, Barbara - I love reading your reviews as well, and they give me a good idea whether to try a book or skip it!

Susan I'm glad you liked this one. It haunted me for quite a while after I finished it.

Barbara My feeling exactly, Susan. Yet he wrote it in a manner that did not sensationalize the story. He was perceptive and sensitive with all of his characters.

message 16: by Maria (new)

Maria This is sounding better and better!

message 17: by Barbara (last edited Apr 27, 2010 04:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Barbara Maria, although the geography and the time period differ, I can see similarities in the insights of peoples' inner torments in Olive Kitteridge (I'm loving it).

Kelly I loved the time period and setting in The Bright Forever - small rural town in the 70s. On a completely different line of thought from the hard circumstances and tragedies in the book.....
I've always thought it would be soo cool to be able to just hop on your bike as a kid and ride into town, or actually walk from one place to another. To know all your neighbors. Of course, I might be idealizing it in my mind!

Barbara It really used to be like that, even in some cities, where neighborhoods functioned like small towns. I would imagine some small, small towns are still that way.

Susan It used to be that way in cities, too--back in the 50s.

Barbara We can remember, but Kelly wasn't even born yet!

Kelly Nope, I missed out on the good ole days, I am sorry to say! I was born in 1976, and things just get more and more crowded as the years go by. I am truly envious of anyone who spent their childhoods/teen years in specifically the 40's, 50's, 60's, or 70's. There are some small southern towns around here that are like that, I am sure, but I've never had the pleasure of living in one of them

Susan Ah, Kelly, you're the same age as my son in LA!

Barbara Susan, I think your son is youmger!

Susan Nope. He was born in December 1976 and will be 34 this year. Loni just turned 30! Time flies!!!!

Barbara Kelly will be pleased to learn that your son and she have the same birth month and year! I didn't realise that your kids had hit that magic number!

Kelly Yes Susan, same year and month!! My birthday is Dec 28th, what day is your son's? And is he single?? Lol, j/k, we are on opposite sides of the country, he and I!

Susan Hi Kelly, his birthday is December 22nd, and yes, he's single. He'll be in to visit in NJ next week, but other than coming east a couple of times a year, he's in LA, working in post-production on TV dramas. Where do you live?

Kelly Susan, I'm actually in Georgia, so I'm pretty far from NJ as well as LA. Oh well, it was worth a try <> ;)

It sounds like he has an interesting job! I have a brother who lives in Wilmington and has done some work as a production assistant on various TV/movie projects, as well, but he's just barely getting his foot in the door at this point.

Susan It's a tough field. Shows get cancelled at the drop of a hat, etc.

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