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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Paper Castles--Poor Little Rich Girl :(

Paper CastlesPaper Castles by Terri Lee
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In trying to cover too many struggles in the life of the " heroine " or anyway , main character, Savannah Palmerton, the author produced a book in which everything is very superficial. The paper castles of the title refers to the homes of the rich ( castles ) which from the outside looking in house happy families, well-adjusted and loving. But, it can be assumed from the travails of this pampered, protected almost 40 year old, they actually are made not of sturdy brick but rather of fragile paper. They hide lies and secrets and scandals and sadness. None of which seemed particularly surprising to me. The fact that all of this is hidden rather than aired in public also is not a surprise but, in this day and age of public self-revelation, may be perceived as unhealthy if not downright shameful in itself.
The time of the story is the 60's, 1963 to be precise. I graduated from college then at 20, so Savannah might have been an older sister or cousin. In my family we would have known she was an alcoholic and pill popper with an adulterous husband. We would not have bandied it about either but someone would have been urging her to pull herself together and get a life. Other than enrolling in a Community College art course she doesn't appear to do anything with herself. She doesn't take care of the house, she has a housekeeper/nanny/surrogate mother for that. She doesn't appear to have too much to do with her kids and she sure doesn't do much about standing up for herself in her marriage. She's kind of a shallow basket case with whom I could not relate.
I did stick with the book, though, hoping that the point was that she would become stronger and say enough is enough and become more than a one dimensional character--but alas, it did not happen. Her husband is gotten rid of fairly easily--as a plot point--and it sets the tenor for the rest of the book. Mental illness seems to run in the family, but does it? And if it exists at all in the family, how was it handled? At the end of the book it seems finding a new man, going to the ocean and dropping alcohol and pills takes care of everything.
While there were several " I didn't see that coming" moments in the story which kept me pushing on, there was just no meat on the bones. Everything, dalliances, mental illness, alienation from family members, alcoholism--all glossed over and superficial. Fortunately, it was a fast read or I would have tossed it aside.
I must admit, the personal thank you note from the author was a first and touched me but though Terri Lee sounds like a nice lady, not sure I'll seek out any other of her books. This was a GoodReads Giveaway in exchange for an unbiased review.

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