Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Looking for a novel? I got one for you . . . .

What with my three wild children and all, I don't get much time to read, and even less time to read for pleasure. Over Spring Break though, having just met a big deadline, I gave myself permission to take a few days off and enjoy some "me" time, which took the form of a lot of soaks in the tub reading a brand-new, fantastic novel by Kimberly McCreightReconstructing Amelia. I'm lucky enough to call the lady a friend so I got to sneak a peek at an advance copy: me and Entertainment Weekly who called the novel one of the best books of 2013  The highest praise I can give the book is to say that I'd almost finished it by the end of our Tennessee trip and that is high praise indeed, seeing as it usually takes me a month or two to finish a magazine article. I was actually sneaking in reading time whenever the baby was asleep or the kids were busy watching TV -- something I haven't done in years.

Here's the synopsis from the back of the book:

"When Kate, single mother and law firm partner, gets an urgent phone call summoning her to her daughter's exclusive private school, she's shocked. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, something that would be completely out of character for her over-achieving, well-behaved daughter. Kate rushes to Grace Hall, but what she finds when she finally arrives is beyond comprehension.
Her daughter Amelia is dead. 
Despondent over having been caught cheating, Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of impulsive suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. In a state of shock and overcome by grief, Kate tries to come to grips with this life-shattering news. Then she gets an anonymous text:  
Amelia didn't jump. 
The moment she sees that message, Kate knows in her heart it's true. Clearly Amelia had secrets, and a life Kate knew nothing about. Wracked by guilt, Kate is determined to find out what those secrets were and who could have hated her daughter enough to kill. She searches through Amelia's e-mails, texts, and Facebook updates, piecing together the last troubled days of her daughter's life."
The book blends the best parts of a mystery -- that compulsive readability. those exciting plot twists-- with the best parts of a woman's fiction book -- intricately-woven characters who you grow to really care about, a rich and developed sense of place and time and relationships that resonate deeply. As a mother, the issues this book grapples with - growing up in the age of cyber bullying, falling in love for the first time, what it means to be a "good" mother -- are close to my heart, and I found them explored in a nuanced and affecting way.  But most importantly, it was insanely fun to read. Because if there's one thing I don't have time for at this point are books that bore me. Those were one of the first things to go after having kids, right along with working out regularly and putting on makeup. So, if you're looking for a good read on the subway or plane or during your "me" time soaking in the tub, consider yourself informed.