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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Saturday, July 16, 2011

When Is It Better to Go Than to Stay?

Coming Up for AirComing Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a thought provoking book--I couldn't put it down. A mother dies unexpectedly and her 40 something daughter, who had a loving but strained relationship with her, finds her mother's journal. The revelations she finds there sends her on a journey--physical, and emotional-- to discover that part of her mother she had never known. Once the woman had been loving and open but to her daughter she had been restrained, constrained by the circumstances of her society and somewhat cold. The discovery of love betrayed and the way in which her mother shaped her life to deal with that betrayal causes the daughter to look more closely at her own marriage. What is love? Does it last forever? Can a true love be rejected and another substitute just as satisfactorily? What choices do we make in our lives and how do we live with those choices? Are there crossroads --such as this death and journal discovery--at which choices can be altered or accepted? These are just some of the questions that arise during the reading and others follow after the book is closed. I'm not sure I liked the pat ending to the book--it was possibly the only part that was unrealistic for me. The rest though probably occurs to women in mid

life more often than imagined.

The characters are well drawn--particularly the daughter and her husband--the others not as much. But then it is the daughter whose marriage is being impacted the most by the events of her mother's life, more so than by the interaction with the other characters.

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