Saturday, September 27, 2014

What is Old is New Again..Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman

So as most people know, I am huge Alice Hoffman fan.  One of the few authors I will pre-order for and encourage everyone to read.

Recently, NetGalley had two of her books on the shelf, "Property Of" and "Seventh Heaven".  I hadn't read "Property Of" before, so I did, and I liked it.  My review is here.

I vaguely remembered reading Seventh Heaven, and once I started it, I realized that yes, I had read it before.  But that didn't prevent me from enjoying it again.

This was a great story set in the time of housewives, husbands who took care of things, and twin beds.

What They Say....Nora Silk doesn’t really fit in on Hemlock Street, where every house looks the same. She's divorced. She wears a charm bracelet and high heels and red toreador pants. And the way she raises her kids is a scandal. 

But as time passes, the neighbors start having second thoughts about Nora. The women’s apprehension evolves into admiration. The men’s lust evolves into awe. The children are drawn to her in ways they can't explain. And everyone on this little street in 1959 Long Island seems to sense the possibilities and perils of a different kind of future when they look at Nora Silk.

This extraordinary novel by the author of The River King and Local Girls takes us back to a time when the exotic both terrified and intrigued us, and despite our most desperate attempts, our passions and secrets remained as stubbornly alive as the weeds in our well-trimmed lawns.

What They Say....It seems like every time you re-read a book, you can take away a different message. 

What stuck out for me this time was that Nora, whose greatest wish was to fit in her neighborhood, was the greatest catalyst for the other women to decide it was okay to stand out.

One of the things I love about Hoffman's books is the magical realism, and I think this was one of the first novels she wrote where it made such a large appearance.  Billy hearing other people's thoughts was just accepted by his mom, there was no great reveal there, Nora sitting down to make a voodoo doll of the neighborhood bully is written as easily as if she was painting her fingernails.  These are the things that make an Alice Hoffman book for me.

I think the theme of this book is still true today, women helping other women stand up instead of shooting them down, and the pursuit of a happy life.  Hopefully, with a bit of magic to help you on the way.

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