Dear Great Book Guru, We were with lots of friends and family for Thanksgiving – all in small groups - and everyone was looking for a good book to give as a gift this holiday season. Do you have any suggestions? Gift Seeker
Dear Gift Seeker, I just finished a great novel: WAYWARD by Dana Spiotta. She has written four other novels in the last decade and all have been highly acclaimed with my favorite being her EAT THE DOCUMENT. This latest brings together many diverse topics: mother-daughter relations, aging, deteriorating marriage, the present political climate, the rewriting of history, and – yes - the real estate market. The book begins with Samantha falling in love with a decrepit house in a decrepit neighborhood of Syracuse, New York. Impulsively, she buys the house, leaves her husband and teenage daughter, and begins to rebuild the house and her life. Things quickly turn dark - in alternating chapters, Ally the teen daughter tells her side of the story, Samantha hers, and then a fictional historical character, Clara Loomis - a much revered local feminist whose legacy is coming under scrutiny. Throughout the book, we get powerful insights into Samantha’s struggles with her roles as mother, daughter, wife, and citizen of a world she finds more and more alien. With the decaying downtown Syracuse as the backdrop, we see Samantha’s story as having much larger implications than one woman confronting her mortality. Beautifully written and highly recommended!