Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard.

Joyce Maynard is a very good American writer who always gets right to the heart of the matter, in this book its secrets and the power they have to both ensnare you and free you. The story of Ruth Plank and Dana Dickerson and their very different families, this story takes you along with them as they try to make sense of a family reality that really doesn't seem to offer either what they need or give an acceptance where acceptance would be expected.
As time moves them from childhood to young adulthood and then into full blown adulthood both struggle with the bond that Ruth's mother went to endless lengths to ensure remained even if neither Ruth or Dana felt any particular empathy or friendship for the other, Birthday Twins Connie Plank called them, born on the same day and in the same hospital.
People come undone with love, grief, separation, longing, desire, illness, old age, the burden of social mores and the realisation that what they really want is not a thing they can have. This fast paced, short chapter ed book is never maudlin, her characters sizzle in their own juices, what appears to be an act of supreme cruelty turns out to be an act of love when time of loads her bundle of secrets and deceptions, there are parts that are very funny especially when poor Connie's illness has unexpected consequences, no daughter wants to hear their Mother talk about such things at all, let alone with such brutal honesty, Connies description of sex is a riot. In the end it is a love story and love wins and the good daughters prevail to find their own truth. I didn't want to finish this book because I loved it so, but I did and sadly I've also decided to shuck poor Seabiscuit of for A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, a book that was the Number 1 Fiction Pick on many top rated lists this year.

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