Monday, November 3, 2014

What Burns Away by Melissa Falcon Field

What They Say.....Good wife, good mother. That's all Claire Spruce is trying to be, but the never-ending snow in this new town and her workaholic husband are making her crazy. Even the sweet face of her toddler son can't pull her out of the dark places in her head.
Feeling overwhelmed and alone, she reconnects with her long-lost high school boyfriend, Dean, who offers an intoxicating, reckless escape. But Dean's reappearance is not a coincidence. He wants something from Claire-and she soon finds that the cost of repaying an old favor may lead to the destruction of her entire life.
What Burns Away is a story of loyalty, family, and the consequences of the past's inevitable collision with our future.

What I Say....Wow.  This was unexpected.  I was very much reminded of Alice Hoffman's "Here on Earth".
There are a few different things that can happen when an unfulfilled, unhappy housewife reconnects with her first true love.   You can fantasize a bit about what might have been, you can even have a little online fling in your pj's after the kids are asleep, or you can go batshit crazy and walk into the past and end up in a felony type situation.
Claire has been moved across the country to snowy Madison, Wisconsin in order to further her husband's medical career.  This enables Claire to become a stay at home mom to her toddler son.
As so many professional women find, the reality of the stay at home mom's life doesn't quite match the reality (I've never, ever wanted to be a stay at home mom, I KNOW that shit is hard).
But Claire's husband is working long hours, and she suddenly receives a Facebook request from her first love, Dean.
Thus starts the unraveling of Claire's life.  The story easily moves between Claire's past and present.
As Claire begins to dwell on her mother's infidelity and the devastation that it brought upon her family, she becomes increasingly untethered from her present day blessings (I use the term blessing loosely, she's obviously clinically depressed and stuck with a toddler in the middle of a Wisconsin winter.  I don't think she's feeling so blessed).
I won't do any spoilers because this story was so unusual.  I know some suburban mom's have some unusual hobbies, but Claire's is a doozy.
One thing that I thought was a little odd was Dean just showing up at her door, uninvited and unannounced after a few Facebook messages.  That would have scared me to death and been a clear sign that maybe he wasn't as mentally healthy as I like my flings to be.
And later when he took the fall for some things that happened, that didn't necessarily ring true.
But sometimes I love when a story doesn't end up with a neatly wrapped bow, and this one didn't.
Emotionally tough to read, more than a little heart wrenching and a whole lot of sad.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive