When I saw the tagline for this book I made sure to request it from Ballantine Books! It said: For fans of Jodi Picoult and Sue Miller, a dark, edgy, page-turning debut about the lengths one woman will travel to escape her past
Doesn't that just suck you in?! I was very excited to read this one. And it was definitely a page-turner. I read half the book on a car trip and was so riveted I didn't even realize it when we were almost to our destination! I had to keep reading to find out what happened to the characters.
Alex, also known as Cat by her friends and family, has been away from home for over 10 years. Her mother's suicide brings her begrudgingly back to the place she escaped long ago. Although she has three children, Cat's mother addresses her suicide note to her, "Cat, He isn't who you think he is. Mom xxxooo" Although, Cat wants to get out of town as fast as possible after her mother's death, she is drawn to the note and trying to figure out what her mother meant. Her mother also claimed that Cat would know where to find the key to the safety deposit box holding the deed to the family farm. These factors and keep Cat in town where she must face the demons from her past.
This book is definitely dark, edgy and a page-turner as the tagline suggests, but I can't say I enjoyed the book. It's subject matter of family abuse, and the psychological torment of Cat's mind make this a very serious book. The subject matter is disturbing and it is very difficult to read about Cat's teenage years. You feel sorry for her and wish one of the characters in the book would just step up, realize what's going on, and help her. I hated what happened to her. But I will say, after making it through the darkness of the book, the end is very redeeming and ends in a better place (maybe that's saying too much or giving too much away, hope I didn't ruin it for anyone).
The book flip-flops between present day and the past fairly easily with a pattern every other chapter. Toward the end it gets a little jumbled up but it was still pretty easy to follow. This is a book to read curled up in a comfy chair at home with a blanket and a warm drink in hand. Not sure I'd recommend it for a vacation/beach read. But it's definitely well-written and sheds light on domestic abuse. Teri Coyne talked to many women survivors in writing the book. I look forward to other books by Coyne, this was a very good freshman effort. According to the author info, Coyne performed stand-up comedy, maybe her next book will have a little lighter subject matter. :-)
The book should be available in bookstores July 28, 2009.