"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review #69: Family Pictures, by Jane Green

I feel like I've read Jane Green before, but I just looked at the list of her books, and none of the covers seem familiar. Maybe it's because I feel like she's a little bit like Elin Hildebrand, with covers that make you think you're picking up chick lit, but what's inside is a bit more hefty.

Family Pictures tells the story of two women living on opposite ends of the country - California and New York - and their children. Sylvie is left to raise her daughter Eve on her own after her husband dies, until she meets and falls in love with Mark, who becomes a father figure for Eve. Mark travels a lot for work, and so Sylvie is a sort of hybrid single parent. Maggie, living in New York, is an uptight, unhappy socialite with three children, and her husband also travels a lot for work. Worlds collide when Eve and Maggie's daughter meet through mutual friends and secrets are revealed.

While I did see the big reveal coming, I wasn't any less shocked by it. And it would have been easy for Green to focus on the drama of the betrayal, but instead, she focused on Sylvie and Maggie and told their stories in what I felt was a pretty realistic way. The gut-wrenching sense of betrayal is bad enough, but both Sylvie and Maggie have bigger things to deal with - their children, Eve's health, the fact that Mark absconded with literally all the money - and Green tells the tale of their survival in the face of all that quite well.

Green is probably considered a beach read, but I felt it was a little heavy for that moniker. Maybe a winter read, when it's cold and rainy outside.

No comments:

Post a Comment