These are reviews originally posted to Amazon as customer reviews. They're intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. (Apologies for any typos, bad grammar, or offensive language.) This isn't sponsored by Amazon or represent them in any way, although they do have a very nice site and I recommend checking it out for your next book purchase. Feel free to comment on the books if you've read them or tell me how much my reviews suck or whatever.
That is all.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Before, After, and Somebody In Between

Before, After, and Somebody In Between
by Jeannine Garsee
(4/5 stars)

In terms of wicked mothers, Martha Kowalski's might not be in the same league as the mom in "Carrie" or Joan Crawford in "Mommy Dearest" but she's close. Martha's mother is more often than not drunk or high, and very often emotionally abusive if not physically abusive. The sort of men she hangs out with, like redneck slum lord Wayne, are just as bad.

Like a lot of books of this type, it begins with Martha and her mother moving into Wayne's house in inner-city Cleveland. Martha's upstairs neighbors are the Lindseys and she forms an attachment to Jerome, who is about her age and dreams of being a nuclear physicist.

Martha goes to the public high school, where an older girl named Chardonnay makes her life a living hell. When Martha finally snaps under the strain and her mom's addictions take a turn for the worse, Martha winds up in a foster home.

Then in a Dickensian twist Martha winds up with the affluent Brinkman family. She adopts the name Gina and most everything seems to be going her way, except for the Brinkman's annoying daughter Nikki. But it doesn't stay that way forever...

Anyway, it's hard to say I could "enjoy" a book like this. It's not exactly a happy story of hope and redemption or anything like that. But there are some valuable lessons to be learned from it. The writing is solid and while the pace lags a bit at times, it generally held my interest.

That is all.

No comments: