Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Fragile by Lisa Unger


A friend lent this thriller to me and in between reading YA and elementary fiction, I slipped it in needing a dose of adult fiction. Lisa Unger is a new author to me and I liked her style. This book is about a small tow where everybody knows everybody. And everybody has a secret, and some of the secrets are pretty big.

This book spoke to me in a resounding voice about families and the strength they hold. How willing are you to believe in those that you love, your children or your spouse?  Maggie, a psychologist, and her husband Jones, a detective on the local police force find out that Charlene, their son's girlfriend and the daughter of an old high school classmate is missing and the search for her brings out all manner of long-forgotten ghosts.

There is a wide array of interesting characters involved including Marshall, the son of the town bully, who waits for his dad's approval even as a high school student and even though he's only ever been disappointed and hurt by his father. As the story plays out we discover bits of history and we come to understand that a classmates' disappearance during high school has everyone reflecting on choices they've made. In alternating moments we have the opportunity to hear from several characters which help to paint a good picture of this town.

"She sat in her ticky-tack room, in her ticky-tack house, painting her nails iridescent green. She hated the tract house with all its perfectly square rooms and thin walls, identical to every third house in their development. It was like living in the box of someone else's limited imagination. How could someone reach the height of her creativity in a drywall cage? She couldn't. And she wouldn't. She would be eighteen in six months. After graduation, she was so out of here. College? Another four years of indentured servitude, living by someone else's arbitrary rules? No way. (Charlene, 19)

"Now that Marshall was nearly the same height and almost as strong as his father, Travis didn't hit him often; Marshall wasn't physically afraid of his father. It was the things he said that lay like bruises on Marshall's skin, damaged his organs, poisoned his blood. That voice that was in his head all the time. He just couldn't get it out. Even the competing voices-Aunt Leila, Mr. Ivy, Dr. Cooper-weren't loud enough to drown him out lately." (Marshall, 63)

"Because that was what it was, wasn't it? Not just anger. Not a need to control in a way we most often mean it. Not a lack of love or understanding for their boy. It was fear. Fear that, after all the years of protecting his health, his heart, his mind, setting bedtimes and boundaries, giving warnings about strangers and looking both ways before crossing the street, it wouldn't be enough. Fear that, as he stood on the threshold of adulthood, forces beyond their control would take him down a path where they could no longer reach him. (Maggie, 15)

I don't know how or why some families have a tough road. Each child, each situation is different and it's never easy to know what to do except love them unconditionally, both parents and children. This book is filled with flawed, interesting characters and a story that kept me turning pages. 



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dr. King's Legacy


It was 50 years ago; April 4th, 1968 at 6:05 tonight.  It's chilling. I think of how far we've come for there has been progress. Signs for "Whites Only" are gone, people of all races, colors, and genders are given their right to vote, outright segregation is no longer present.  Yet we've not come far enough. There is still segregation hidden by poverty and neighborhood, by opportunity. We're still waiting for a certain amount of change in this country.  At least many of us are. Dr. King did bring us to the mountaintop and I think of the bodies lined along the way; not only his but Robert Kennedy, Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X, but Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Stephon Clark, Eric Garner, Samuel DuBose, Freddie Gray, Natasha McKenna, and Christian Taylor, just to name a few-the list is too long. 

Last night I attended a staged reading about the last night of Martin's life as he talks with a maid at the Lorraine Motel. It was a good look at Dr. King in a very humanizing way. He wasn't perfect but he was an amazing speaker who loved all people, who wanted to see the good in what could happen. As I talked with friends before the play my friend Rita made an interesting comparison to the weather we are all humbled by-very winter weather at the beginning of April-she said it was like we were in Narnia. Quickly we made the leap to Trump as the White Queen. So much change still to be made and a madman in the White House who considers gun violence a local issue and continues to offer his "thoughts and prayers".

We need stricter gun laws (and we don't mean your hunting or handguns appropriately used and registered. We are talking about guns that should not be covered by the 2nd Amendment. This president ~ not going to do it.

We need better immigration policies, DACA to continue, and this president is going in the opposite direction.

This list is long but I see hope in the students of Stoneman Douglas as they lead the march, I see hope in the #MeToo movement as women insist on calling out those who use power as a weapon. I see hope in the Black Lives Matter Movement as they fight back against police brutality and twisted realities. I see hope in my 15-yr-old daughter as she rants to the radio over Trump's immigration plans and quotas that rush people through an already dismal situation.

Keeping Dr. King's dream alive should be every person's mantra out there every day as you fight for civil rights in your neck of the world and beyond. Hold your own candlelight vigil tonight as 6:05 ticks by...

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter


Happy April! Happy Easter!

I hope everyone communed with family and friends today, enjoyed a good meal together, searched for eggs, maybe had a lovely basket delivered by somebunny.

Spring started on March 20th and it is still freezing here. I must be having a bit of seasonal depression (or just depression) because the cold weather is very much affecting me this year. I see what looks like warm sun out there but the moment you walk out the door 33 degrees and wind will hit you. All week long it's going to be like this and I'm not sure I'll make it. I did make more bread yesterday and pizza dough as well. We had a delicious spinach, tomato, goat cheese, pesto and basil pizza last night for dinner.

I'm reading short stories by Flannery O'Connor and while I find them insightful and deep; the "N" word is really hard for me to read over and over. In front of a warm fire, I read and watch the birds (especially this one very bright red cardinal) flock to our backyard birdfeeder which is a good reminder that Spring will show up and the birds' dance and play as they wait patiently just as I should. Happy living everyone.