Monday, July 28, 2014

A Better Place by Barbara Hall

This book revolved around the mid-life crisis of a failed actress who went to Hollywood to pursue an important life, and as it became clear that she wasn't going to experience the level of success that she felt entitled to, she begins obsessing about the small town life she left behind.

As the former Queen Bee of Maddock, her return stirs up all sorts of feelings in the people she left  behind, including her parents, best friends, ex-boyfriends and random townspeople.
The local deputy calls it the "dog days of summer" and continues to blame all of the strange happenings on this phenomenon rather than adults in the throes of a mid-life crisis behaving badly.

As I was reading this book, Thoreau's quote "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation....." kept popping into my head.  This was an interesting book, and a good read, but the overwhelming mood in the book was yearning and despair.  A little too realistic to be a fun beach read, but really hit the thoughts that go through this middle aged mom's head.  One character, an infertility specialist, Dr. Ross says, "Because you see, children prevent you from doing anything.  They completely occupy your time and attention.  You can't address your concerns and desires because you're so wrapped up in the children.  And they also provide a very nice reason to think in simplistic terms.  How many times have you heard people say, 'I didn't believe in the death penalty until I had children'?  They have the right, now, to believe in retribution and bloodletting because it's all wrapped in this sacramental blanket called children.  Children make it easier for us to be less questioning., less demanding of ourselves intellectually.  Passing out clean hypodermics to drug addicts?  Sorry, can't think about it.  I've got the children.  Poverty, world hunger?  Sorry, children.  And the more children you've got, the less you have to apply yourself to any other question."

Yikes.  I like to read to escape these type of thoughts going through my head, but this book definitely wasn't escapism.  Good book, brought out a strong emotional response in it's reader.

I received a free copy of this book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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