Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Between Here and April by Deborah Copaken Kogan

I read about Between Here and April on Caribou's Mom (thank you handy-dandy little notebook for allowing me to remember that!) and it sounded like something different from what I usually read but something that I would enjoy. I ended up being a bit disappointed, however, as I really didn't like the main character. It wasn't a bad book, though I suspect part of my reason was because of where I am in my life right now. I give it a B.

Inside cover:
When a deep-rooted memory suddenly surfaces, Elizabeth Burns becomes obsessed with the long-ago disappearance of her childhood friend April Cassidy. Driven to investigate, Elizabeth discovers a thirty-five-year-old newspaper article revealing the details that had been hidden from her as a child- shocking revelations about April's mother, Adele.
Elizabeth, now herself a mother, tracks down the people who knew Adele Cassidy and who thought that they knew what was going through her mind before she committed that most incomprehensible of crimes. She seeks out anyone who might help piece together the final months, days, and hours of this troubled woman's life- from Adele's former neighbor to her psychiatrist to her sister.
But the answers are more elusive than any normal investigation can yield, the questions raised difficult to contemplate. In fact, the further into the story Elizabeth digs, the more she is focused to accept that she and Adele may not be so different.
Elizabeth's exploration thus leads her ultimately back to her herself: her compromised marriage, her increasing self-doubt, her desire for more out of her career and her life, and finally to a fearsome reckoning with what it means to be a wife and mother.

Now I should premise this review by saying that I am not a mother (except to my adorable furbaby Roxy) but I am trying to get pregnant right now and haven't been having much luck. Every month is another disappointment and I am much more sensitive to all things mommy right now, including watching Juno last night and that show on MTV, 16 and Pregnant. Throughout the book there was a lot of talk about post-partum depression, which I admit I do not know much about, and it seems like to me that there is a slight message being sent across that being a mom is something that requires you to become less of a person. Again, as I said, I am extremely sensitive right now, so please take everything I say with a grain of salt. Now, in general, I really didn't care for Elizabeth. She was going through a lot, but it seemed like to me she just expected everyone to somehow cater to her problems when she doesn't express what is wrong or how things can be helped. With all of that being said, I thought the story was told in quite an interesting way and thought it puts the spotlight on a topic that I believe is largely misunderstood- depression but mainly postpartum depression. If Ms. Kogan continues to write more fiction, I will probably be on the lookout for more.

I am not sure what I will pick up next, but I hope to be able to sneak one more in before the end of the month. After I get off of work tomorrow at noon, I have a wide open weekend available for me, so I look forward to reading and enjoying it. Happy Reading everyone!


Wendy said...

Sorry the book did not resonate with you, Kristi. I think it is a really tough subject, and probably much tougher for someone who is pregnant! I didn't feel like the message of the book was that being a mom requires one to be less of a person...the message I got was how difficult and challenging being a mom really is and gave us a face of someone who did something unthinkable and helped us understand how that could have happened. I actually thought the book was more of a slam on the medical field and unsupportive spouses than moms :) I agree Elizabeth was a difficult character to like.

Kristie said...

Thanks for commenting Wendy. Like I said, I knew I was being ultra sensitive. I totally see where you are coming from, and the whole unsupportive spouse angle and medical community. I hated the Dr. Adele saw. I think this will be a book that will stay with me for awhile.

Wendy said...

*nods* I agree - I have found myself thinking of the book off and on since I finished it.

By the way, I meant to wish you congratulations on your pregnancy...hoping you are feeling wonderful! And looking forward to hearing about the new baby once he or she arrives!

Staci said...

I think this one sounds like it has its upside and downside. It does sound like one that I would pick up to read.

Kristie said...

Oh, Wendy... I meant to say in my post that I am trying to get pregnant. Not there yet... but maybe your congratulations will be the magic words! :)

Wendy said...

I hope so, Kristi! Winging good thoughts your way :)