Lois's Reviews > Fortune's Rocks

Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve
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Aug 20, 2009

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Read in August, 2009

I found the first half of this book to be slow reading, perhaps because so much of it happens in Olympia's head. And I never really suspended my disbelief in a 15-year-old girl being as mature in her thoughts and her social abilities as Olympia was, although I wonder if a girl raised for a life in society would perhaps have that greater maturity.

Still, it's a well-written and easy-to-read book, and gives a person something to think about in the process. I found Olympia to be governed too much by her wants and passions, and perhaps realistically not governed by the impact on other people until she could not avoid it, as at the end of the court case.

I also wished for more of a compromise in the suit to regain her child, rather than an either/or situation as was presented.

The author makes the point that the result of the passions in the book is to diminish people. Olympia thinks about how the result of her affair diminishes Catherine and the children, and how it diminishes her father, and even John Haskell. I'm not sure I agree with that. In the long run, was Catherine diminished? Or did she go on to a life that was enhanced in other ways? We don't get to find out. Were the children really diminished, or were they able to absorb events and have fulfilled lives? I'm guessing the latter.

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Mary I had a similar feeling that the custody suit could have be resolved with a compromise. Perhaps Peter could have remained with his parents while "Aunt Olympia" could remain involved in his life. If Olympia knew Peter was destined to live his life working in the mills (and indeed his parents died young of mill related diseases) it seems that such a solution would be obvious. Since Olympia technically retained legal guardianship, why didn't she remain at least peripherally involved in her son's life and see to it that he was well educated and provided for? That plot element just didn't come together for me either!

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