Tuesday, November 10, 2009
White Picket Fences
Amanda Janvier’s idyllic home seems the perfect place for her niece Tally to stay while her vagabond brother is in Europe, but the white picket fence life Amanda wants to provide is a mere illusion. Amanda’s husband Neil refuses to admit their teenage son Chase, is haunted by the horrific fire he survived when he was four, and their marriage is crumbling while each looks the other way.
Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.
Readers of emotional dramas that are willing to explore the lies that families tell each other for protection and comfort will love White Picket Fences. The novel is ideal for those who appreciate exploring questions like: what type of honesty do children need from their parents, or how can one move beyond a past that isn’t acknowledged or understood? Is there hope and forgiveness for the tragedies of our past and a way to abundant grace?
My Review: I loved this book. Meissner did a splendid job of blending the characters' diverse stories into one novel. The story lines were captivating - I finished this book in one day because I had to know what happened with each character.
Tally's change in home life from one of transience with her father to a stable home life with her extended family (even if only temporary) was realistic. I felt that the character's interactions in this situation were believable although I wish there had been more development of Delcey's (sister of Chase) character.
The fire in Chase's past comes back to haunt not only him but also his parents' marriage. I found it fascinating how Meissner blended the tragedy in Chase's past with the tragedy of the Holocaust and the men in the assisted living facility.
The ending nicely tied up the story lines except one... but that was not a bad thing as it left the reader wondering which outcome would be best for the character.
White Picket Fences was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.