Saturday, March 12, 2011

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott

A beautifully written book about a very delicate, tricky and devastating topic - teenagers and drugs.
James and Elizabeth realise after being surrounding by ever increasing evidence that their daughter Rosie is not quite the girl they thought she was, in fact her life has descended into lies, lies and more lies but tressing a downward spiral that threats to engulf them all. The back story is littered with the pain of early death and mental illness and the desperate search by the adults for a satisfying and fulfilling life that they so fervently wish for along with money and a regular, high achieving child.
The realisation that Rosie is far more devious, cunning and drug addled than they believe causes them to take drastic action that finally leads them all into the warmth of redemption. The characters are well drawn, warts and all, there are times when you like them and boy are there times when you don't, people in pain is never easy to read but Lamott has the ability to lift you over it while never lessening your shared experience.
Small towns are a minefield in many cases not the utopia we may imagine, the problems are just the same especially for the young.  Elizabeth's fragility and then strength in the face of possible disaster and Rosie's cunningness and manipulative abilities are highlights. This book is peppered with a cast of backing characters who really hold their own and add a wide variety of nuances to the book which serve to both expand and enhance it.

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