The Longing of Wayward Girls- a review

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The Longing of Wayward Girls

by Karen Brown

published by Washington Square Press

2013

I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Summary

It’s an idyllic New England summer, and Sadie is a precocious only child on the edge of adolescence. It seems like July and August will pass lazily by, just as they have every year before. But one day, Sadie and her best friend play a seemingly harmless prank on a neighborhood girl. Soon after, that same little girl disappears from a backyard barbecue; and she is never seen again. Twenty years pass, and Sadie is still living in the same quiet suburb. She’s married to a good man, has two beautiful children, and seems to have put her past behind her. But when a boy from her old neighborhood returns to town, the nightmares of that summer will begin to resurface, and its unsolved mysteries will finally become clear.  (goodreads)

My Review

This is the third book I have read this month that I experienced a strange thing- a dislike of the characters and their decisions.  The story alternates between the summer of 1979 and the summer of 2003, all set in a quaint New England town.  Sadie Watkins is the main character and we go back and forth with her between these two pivotal summers.  In 1979, the adolescent Sadie makes choices that will haunt her for the rest of her life.  I actually enjoyed the descriptions of growing up in the 70’s.  Though I am not as old as Sadie, I too grew up in the era.  The flashbacks were honestly the more interesting parts of the book, though I had a hard time liking Sadie at any point.  I would have enjoyed more of that story, rather than the constant sense of ennui and repeated poor choices of the adult Sadie.  I found it easier to take a 12 year old doing stupid and harmful things than a grown women and mother of two children.   That being said, the book was well written and I would look forward to reading more from this author.   I did find the whole story line with Sadie’s mother captivating.  It balanced out the Loomis storyline, which kind of went nowhere.

My Rating 3 out of 5

Seating Arrangements- A Review

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Seating Arrangements

by Maggie Shipstead

published by Alfred A. Knopf

2012

Summary

Winn Van Meter is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke. Normally a haven of calm, for the next three days this sanctuary will be overrun by tipsy revelers as Winn prepares for the marriage of his daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff.  Winn’s wife, Biddy, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are sideswept by a storm of salacious misbehavior and intractable lust: Daphne’s sister, Livia, who has recently had her heart broken by Teddy Fenn, the son of her father’s oldest rival, is an eager target for the seductive wiles of Greyson’s best man; Winn, instead of reveling in his patriarchal duties, is tormented by his long-standing crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid Agatha; and the bride and groom find themselves presiding over a spectacle of misplaced desire, marital infidelity, and monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life.

Hilarious, keenly intelligent, and commandingly well written, Shipstead’s deceptively frothy first novel is a piercing rumination on desire, on love and its obligations, and on the dangers of leading an inauthentic life, heralding the debut of an exciting new literary voice. (from Goodreads)

My Review

I put off writing this review for almost a week, because I do not like writing negative reviews.  Usually, if I read a book for pleasure and do not enjoy it, I just chalk it up to a bad choice.  This time, I figured I should at least explain why.

I was really looking forward to reading this book.  I enjoyed Beautiful Day by Elin  Hilderbrand so much, and this looked like it had a similar storyline.  A wealthy family, a daughter’s wedding in affluent New England beach town, told from different perspectives.  A fun read for our plane rides to and from Disney.  Well, this was totally not the fun, breezy story I thought it would be.  Almost every single character in this book is either truly screwed up, or just creepy.  The bride, seven months pregnant, is the most normal character, since we barely get to know her at all.  Her sister, and maid of honor is in SERIOUS need of therapy.  The  wonderful father of the bride spends almost the whole book either fantasizing about one of the bridesmaids, feeling guilty about his fantasies, or actually trying to sleep with said bridesmaid.  And these are the main characters.  I normally do not like to give 2 stars- why bother- but this story really left me slightly ill- and that was before my son came down with the very “magical” stomach bug he brought back from Mickey’s house.   I really don’t recommend this book unless you are a huge fan of train wrecks and staring at accidents on the side of the highway.  Or just want to feel good that you are not one of these people.

Rating

2.5 out of 5 stars