Julie's Reviews > Reel Life

Reel Life by Jackie Townsend
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's review
Apr 20, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, own
Read from April 21 to May 04, 2012 — I own a copy

The concept of this novel was highly original, with each chapter titled and themed after a movie that correlates with the lives of sisters Jamie and Betty. The first half of each chapter shows their present situation, then lapses into a scene from their past. It was a little awkward towards the end when the two timelines converge, but it effectively conveyed the women’s roles in each other’s lives. Architect Jamie spends a portion of the book in Thailand with her husband Roberto, trying to reconcile her feelings about wanting a child despite her infertility and her husband’s reticence. Betty is expecting her fourth child and carries herself with an almost smug superiority at so easily conceiving. Throw in an overbearing yet emotionally unavailable mother, difficult marriages, challenging careers, and a variety of life struggles, and you have a complex novel with sisterhood and cinema at its core.

There were times when I thought Jamie and Betty were easily interchangeable, especially with their insecurities and indecisiveness, usually in scenes when they were together. When they revert to their respective lives, suddenly uncertainty transforms into confidence and individuality. Betty blossoms in her role as mother to three boys and Jamie flourishes in her unhindered independence. There’s no denying that these are flawed characters, often contradicting themselves. Jamie and Betty deal with their shortcomings differently, but they always come back to each other for guidance and support. Despite some minor frustrations, it was a strong novel. If you have a sister or are a movie-buff, you will appreciate the intricacies that Townsend delivers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.
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04/24/2012 page 171

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