There is nothing quite so satisfying as a story about suburbanites with secrets. If you tune into popular culture regularly, you might come to believe that every cul-de-sac is a hotbed of lust, avarice, infidelity and worse. Alas, most are not. Fuller Court, however, is rife with several of these vices, and is marinated in a heavy broth of suspicion, indifference and bias. The perfect setting for a juicy novel!
Pregnant 17-year-old Diana appears one July day in this Southern California neighborhood of virtual strangers. She has come seeking her birth father, whom she’s never met, having departed her mother’s home in Las Vegas. Has she been banished? Ore escaped? Over the course of the summer, her presence shakes up the households in her new neighborhood, pulling families apart and making unexpected allies among the group. As the Santa Ana winds sweep fire through the valley in September, the little community cracks. What emerges is a mystery and the unveiling of many secrets. Fabulous!
This is one of my favorite genres of novel, beautifully executed. There is a mystery, there is possibly a crime, there is a great sense of people forced to abandon a very modern kind of solitude. The author also takes on the subject of parenting: what makes a good parent, what makes a bad parent, and how we feel about our children, particularly those who are not with us. Like many parents, I struggle almost daily with the worry that I am not doing enough, or enough of the right things, for my kids. And as a parent who shares custody, I know that horrible black hole that opens in my life when I’ve been separated from them for too long. This novel describes all of these feelings beautifully. It also provides some great examples of people who are definitely doing the whole thing less skillfully than I! Which always gives me a great sense of satisfaction.
The writing is quick, smart and evocative. I’m glad I read this on a long travel day – otherwise I would surely have missed hours of precious sleep reading Just One More Chapter. I’ve been meaning to read all of the author’s work for some time now, having loved Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress. I especially want to read About My Sisters, since I have the absolute privilege of actually knowing one of them! Time to load up the nook.
Debra Ginsberg, in addition to having written lots of terrific books, both fiction and non, also has a great blog, which I could spend many hours reading. This is one of my favorite posts, which I would like to steal and re-title Another Reason Why Judaism Is So Much Cooler Than Christianity.