Tuesday, November 10, 2009

White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner

This book gets off to a confusing start. There is a great deal of background information that is necessary to ultimately understand the story line. This information is inserted from time to time as the characters are attending a funeral. I found the insertions intrusive and not adding to the flow of the story. There must be a better way to get this book through to the story line.
Once you make it through the first twenty pages or so, the book is much better. The story then flows relatively well.
There are many social issues dealt with in this book – too many, I think. The holocaust is a major theme with a great deal of background material needed to see its relationship to the descendants’ current family situation.
Another theme concerns a deadly fire from which one of the characters was rescued when he was four. Now he is a teen and is trying to deal with the memories and the possibility of his responsibility in the origin of the fire. Woven into this theme are the father of the family who does not want to discuss the past event and the mother who does.
Mixed in with the family situation is marital strife between the husband and wife. He spends every spare hour with his hobby and she is tempted to form a relationship with a fellow teacher.
And then, to add another theme, there is the niece of the wife who comes to live with the family. Her dad is off in Europe and she was left with her grandma who then died a few days later (hence the opening funeral). Her dad’s quest in Europe has to do with the holocaust and possible valuable but hidden heirlooms.
While some of the themes intertwine, there are just too many of them. I would have rather had one theme dealt with in detail.
I did find the book an interesting read and did learn about Warsaw during WW II. To do the entire story line justice, however, there should have been as much
time and effort given to the other themes as well.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook
Multnomah Publishing Group. I'll pass it along to you if you are the first to comment on this blog.
For product information:http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400074570&ref=externallink_wbp_whitepicketfences_sec_0916_01
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