Sunday, March 29, 2009

Review : Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood

This is the book chosen by our "Read Around Maine" group, and it is definitely going to be one of my best of the year. Seldom do I stay up all night to finish a book, but I could not put this down. A poignant. gripping story, with well developed characters, and a plot line that has you sitting on the edge of the chair, convinced that something is not being said. The ending certainly doesn't disappoint. Essentially this is the story of a woman, orphaned at age 2, raised by her uncle, who happened to be a priest, and their subsequent loss of each other, when she was nine, under questionable circumstances that resonate with today's clergy scandal . Her adult quest, 21 years later, to fit together missing pieces of her life is extraordinarily well could so easily have become a daytime soap, but isn't. Rather it is a quiet, believable, compelling story of friendship, betrayal, and atonement that really spoke to me, perhaps because I was raised in a Catholic environment that forms the basis for the story, but I don't think you have to be Catholic to read it, soak it in, and love it. The themes of friendship, relationship, failure, and redemption are not depressing, but validating of the human condition. The ending (without giving it away) is perfect--surprising, gut-wrenching, sad but believable, better than happily ever after. You can walk away feeling that everything fits into place.


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