Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Book Report

I just finished reading Cage of Stars, Jacquelyn Mitchard's latest novel. It's the story of a girl, Ronnie, who is about 12 when the book opens. She is witness to a horrible tragedy when her two younger sisters are killed, and the book is about her life growing up and learning to deal with the emotional aftermath. She lives in rural Utah and is Mormon, and I found it very interesting to read the detail Mitchard went in to, showing how Ronnie's faith and religion affected her life and the decisions she made.

I am intrigued by Mitchard's choice of topic. Her first big book was about tragedy involving a young child (Deep End of the Ocean) and this one also centers on the loss of young lives. She is the mother of 7 and lives in Wisconsin. I don't think that I, as the mother of young children, could write about topics so emotionally trying. I never read Deep End of the Ocean because it came out when Ben was young and the little boy who was lost was also named Ben and it just hit too close to home. This book was hard to read, but was also so incredibly good - I do recommend it. You don't know how it is going to end - there is foreshadowing, but not enough to give anything away. I ignored my sons while I finished it - it was that engrossing!

I am hoping Calandria will read it and share her thoughts on how Ronnie's being Mormon shaped the story, and how Mitchard did representing the church. It seemed to be well done to me, but I realize my ignorance. Mitchard clearly thought it integral as it is such a central theme throughout the entire book. So, Calandria, let me know!


A Peterson Family Member said...

After I wrote this I found Jaquelyn Mitchard's website - did you know she actually responds to every comment readers post there? It's awesome - anyway, apparently there are a LOT of Mormon mistakes, but overall people seem pretty content with the "big picture" portrayal.

Mark and Carla said...

I don't care for her books. I made the mistake of reading "Deep End of the Ocean" right after Cameron was born, which wasn't good at all. However, while I was reading about the mom's drug-addled life after the kidnapping, I found myself wanting some drugs.

I also read "A Theory of Relativity" based on a true Wisconsin story about a couple who died leaving an adopted child behind. There was a custody battle centering around the fact that the dead parents weren't "really" the parents since the child was adopted.

I just found her books to wallow in pain. I know "Deep End" was an Oprah pick, but I find these kinds of books on personal relationships to meander along with no strong plot drive, exploring the depths of whomever's soul. Ack. Anita Shreve is another like that. Maeve Binchy comes close at times, but her characters are more colorful and a larger cast makes her more interesting.

But I don't think I'll share this with Ms. Mitchard on her website--just on yours.

A Peterson Family Member said...

Carla, go to her website and read her bio. I think you will like her.
Her site reads like a friend's .. I feel like I know her a bit after reading her pages and her discussion comments. I haven't read many of her books but now I want to read more.

Calandria said...

Hmm. I'll have to take a look at that. I haven't looked at the website yet but I will do that too. I assume Mormons wrote in to her site and filled her in on the mistakes. We are such a touchy bunch! I think we tend to be over-sensitive because of all the erroneous info published about Mormons. Erroneous or speculatory, or what have you.