Friday, March 13, 2009

Books I've read this week

iI just finished reading The Absence of Nectar by Kathy Hepinstall ©2001. I have to say the book pulled me in and didn't let go until the very end. The main story is of 2 young children's fight for survival against their evil stepfather while their mother stands by and doesn't help. You have to feel sorry for all of them. The mother is weak and doesn't think she can survive without a man in her life. When her husband walks out on her, she first totally collapses, lays in bed, and refuses to go on with her life, then she accepts the first man who pays attention to her, overlooking his obvious faults of meanness, bulllying, and lying. He tells her and her kids that his wife and son both drowned so they'll feel sorry for him but the daughter never really believes him. He's jealous of the children and does all he can to make their lives miserable and when they try to tell their mother, she refuses to believe it. Even when he starts mistreating her and emotionally abusing her, she stands by him. All he wants is for her to get pregnant so he'll have a child of his own. It gets so bad the children feel their stepfather is going to poison them but they don't know where to turn for help. Their mother finally reaches the point where she knows her husband is dangerous and tells the children to "RUN!" What they do next to survive is amazing.

The story, which takes place in 1971 in East Texas, is told in the viewpoint of the daughter who is 12. The son is 14, very religous and feels everyone should be forgiven for their sins. He's fallen in love, via newspaper stories, with a girl who's locked up in a mental hospital for reportedly killing her mother and attempting to kill her father. He writes her telling her that God will forgive her if she'll just let Him and he'll help her, etc. This girl ends up playing a very big part in their lives.

The telling of the struggle all 3 of these kids go through to survive was very well-written. I highly recommend this book.


I also read Nora Roberts' book Going Home, which is made up of 3 previously published short stories, Unfinished Business © 1992, Island of Flowers ©1982, and Mind Over Matter ©1987. These 3 were all definitely 'chick-lit' and easy reading. You could tell they were written several years ago as several of the main male characters smoked and bossed the women around. I don't think you'd see as much of that in a newer book. Several times I just wanted the woman to tell the guy to "F* off!" instead of letting him control her but, of course, they all fall in love in the end. Typical romance novel.


I managed to get another book read on Saturday bringing this week's total to three. After reading James Patterson's Sundays at Tiffany's, which didn't impress me at all, I was hesitant to read another of his stories. However, I had a copy of Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas © 2001 and I decided to give him another try. I'm very glad I did as this is a much better read. I am also surprised that this book, with all it's emotional ups and downs, was written by a man.

In the book, Katie Wilkinson meets and falls in love with the 'perfect man', Matt Harrison. She plans a big dinner for him so she can tell him exactly how she feels and instead he breaks up with her that night for no apparent reason. The next day she finds an envelope on her doorstep and inside is a diary written by Matt's wife, Suzanne, for their infant son, Nicholas. Suzanne had lost her parents at an early age and always wished her mother had left her a diary so she writes one for her son. She starts it before he's even born by telling him how she and Matt met, about their wedding, her hopes for the future, etc. In it the love she and Matt share is very evident. Matt's note with the diary says it will help Katie understand why he left. Seeing that's it's Matt's wife's diary makes Katie feel that she's fallen in love with an adulterer and she's even more upset. The story is then told as Katie reads the diary entries and what she does because of it . It's a very emotional story and you don't know exactly what's going on until towards the end of the book. At one point I just had to take a break to get my emotions under control. Read it and you'll understand.

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