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Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday Flashback

From May 2003:


Her Daughter's Eyes by Jessica Barksdale Inclan. Women's fiction.








This book was almost too close to home for me to read. I have a 17-year-old daughter, and that was close enough, but there were parallels to my own teen years as well. My parents were divorced, I never saw my father. My mother worked nights, usually coming home after I'd gone to school in the morning. When she got up, she'd shower & dress, and then go to a friend's house, until they went to work together at 11. Once in a while, she'd still be home when I got home from school, and occasionally I saw her on her weekends off, so it wasn't quite as bad as Kate & Tyler had it, but it brought back all the old memories and resentments.

Kate is 17 and pregnant, living alone with her younger sister while her father spends his time with his girlfriend and her two young sons. When the time comes, Tyler delivers her niece, and the girls take care of the baby until they're discovered, and their lives, and the lives of their father, his girlfriend, the baby's father, and his family all unravel.

It would be easy for the men in this story to be villains, for the girls and the baby's father's wife & family to be victims, but this book is more complex than that. Each character in this book is real: not bad, not good, but human. When I started the story, I didn't believe it would be possible for me to have any sympathy for a man who left his daughters alone and didn't even notice when one became pregnant and gave birth. I still can't condone his behavior, but I can understand and sympathize. I didn't expect to feel anything other than sympathy for Kate, but by the end of the story, I did.

Despite my personal qualms about the book, I'm glad I read it. The characters are very well drawn, and the author has the rare gift of writing them so that the readers can understand and sympathize even when it seems impossible.
You can read the entire thread, including a conversation with the author, here.

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Comments:
Amazing that you were drawn to a book that took you through several miles in other characters shoes - characters that so resembled people from your own life. Thanks for sharing this, Darla. And Happy 4th of July.
 
Was an interesting conversation with the author at Berkley. Thanks for directing me there.

Question, have you ever read her "Believe Trilogy"? I thought about buying the first book but then I keep changing my mind. Maybe if you read it, it would encouraged me to buy it? The trilogy look good :)
 
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