Why I Read It: I really enjoyed Poznansky’s Twisted so decided to step out of my usually genres and give this a try. Plus, I really like this cover art.
Where I Got It: A review copy from the author (thanks!).
Who I Recommend This To: If you feel the need to explore parent-child relationships in depth, especially where infidelity and divorce are of interest, then you should check this out.
Publisher: Self-published (2013)
Length: 12 hours and 49 minutes
This story centers around three main people: Lenny, his son Ben, and Lenny’s young wife, Anita. While Ben’s mother (Natasha) has very few appearances in the book, her person still has strong effects on the main three characters. The tale jumps back and forth in time, basically covering two main points in time. The story starts off with Lenny and Anita marrying. Then we learn that they have been together roughly 10 years. Slowly, gradually, the reader learns that Lenny and Natasha were once happily married, until Natasha was struck with early onset Alzheimer’s and their relationship started to fall apart. Lenny turned his affections outside the marriage and happened to bump into Anita at an ice cream parlor. Anita and Ben are about the same age and as Natasha leaves and Anita comes in the door, Ben goes off to Europe for university. We see very few snippets of life for these three until the wedding 10 years later. Ben returns for the wedding and several unresolved issues bubble to the surface among the three. The story is an in-depth look into these issues, showing the love and conflict knitted throughout these relationships.
This book was well written with plenty of thought put into the plights of the characters, carefully mapping out how each responds to the emotional situations they find themselves in, considering each person’s needs and desires. With that said, this wasn’t the book for me. I found the pacing of the story extremely slow (and for someone who adores Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, the pacing must be pretty slow). Also, I saw very little character growth for any of the characters from the time Anita comes into their lives fastforwarded 10 years to the wedding of Lenny and Anita. Ben went off to college, to Europe and comes back at age 27. Didn’t he have adventures? Romances? Heartbreak? But he appears to be the same as he was at age 17 when Anita first came into his life. Also, Anita seems to have very little growth. While I found her story line the most interesting, I was left feeling that all she did for 10 years was watch questionable TV and keep Lenny happy in bed. I think if the storyline was compressed over a 3-4 year span, this lack of character growth wouldn’t have bugged me as it did.
With that criticism, if you have an interest in child-parent relations when there is a divorce and a new, younger significant other takes the place of one parent, then this book might be of great interest to you. There was also that side tragedy of Natasha’s illness (which Lenny managed to hide from Ben for 10-12 years). I definitely understood Ben’s mix of emotions when he finally found out – deep sadness, betrayal (why didn’t his dad trust him with this news much earlier?). If you read the blurb on Goodreads for this book, you will see that a tape recorder with the recorded innermost thoughts of the main characters plays a key role in the story. However, this tape recorder doesn’t really come into play until the reader is perhaps 75% of the way through the book. So, it’s significance seemed rather minor to me, as compared the Natasha’s piano.
While this book was not the book for me, I am not turned off of Uvi Poznansky’s works and will look forward to checking out further works from her. Her care in plotting and setting up characters was evident in this book, even if the subject didn’t move me.
The Narration: Heather Jane Hogan and David Kudler did a decent job of narrating the story. Heather’s voice for Anita was especially good since she had the most emotional outbursts. David gave Ben an agonized voice for when he finally reunites with his ill mother and he filled Ben’s voice with longing when Ben was thinking of Anita.
What I Liked: The cover; well-written; Anita’s storyline was the most compelling.
What I Disliked: The pacing was extremely slow; little to no character growth over a decade of plot time.
What Others Think: