Sunday, December 20, 2009

How It Ends, Laurie Wiess

This book was incredibly depressing! It was probably not the best choice for me at the moment considering I am in the midst of yet another illness induced depression/seasonal affective disorder couple of days. I had thought from the blurbs I'd read it would be a story more about a teenage girl growing up and dealing with My So Called Life type moments but instead the story was a lot heavier with an emphasis on the really creepy and sad life experiences of the elderly neighbors of said teenage girl. This comment from the book sums it up better than I could:

"I can't take this story," I said, turning off the CD player. "First it's a tragedy, then a horror story, then a romance, and now it's what, a back-to-the-land thing? It's a roller coaster, Gran, and no matter where I think it's going, it never goes there." (p. 297)

I was also stunned by the sheer number of issues that were touched on in this one novel. We had animal taxidermy, animal rescue, euthanasia, Parkinson's disease, health care for the elderly, illegitimacy, eugenics/sterlization, foster care/orphanages, Nazis/horrific war violence, venereal diseases, teenage love, and I am absolutely positive that I have forgotten several other topics that you could build an afterschool special or lifetime tv movie around... needless to say A LOT was going on in this book.

Which ended up being a little too much for me but I did enjoy isolated parts of the book. I loved the brief sections describing Helen & Lon's happy early days of marriage. That was very sweet and touching. I also liked how stable and good Hanna's parents were even though they were pretty much background characters. I liked Jess a lot too and wish that he had a bigger part in the book. And I thought Hanna's teenage girl angst and excitement were very realistic- almost annoyingly so! But I know from experience that being a teenage girl is a very obnoxious stage of life to endure.

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