Catching Genius

Saturday, June 27, 2009

In Catching Genius by Kristy Kiernan, two sisters have to learn how to overcome their past in order to be a family again. As young girls, Connie and Estella lived a privileged life and always got along. This ends one day when Estella is tested and the family learns she is a genius with an IQ of 140. Estella always had a fascination with numbers and is labeled a math genius. From that point on, all the family attention, mainly that of the father's, is focused on Estelle, who goes off to college at the age of 12. Connie begins harboring a bitter resentment that lasts throughout her adult years.

By their early 40's, the sisters have not spoken to each other in 8 years. Their mother then calls each of them to let them know she will be selling the beach house. (Their father is long deceased). Connie and Estella reluctantly agree to help pack up the house. Meanwhile, Connie deals with the falling apart of her marriage, the difficulty of raising two boys, and another event that brings back the emotions and resentments she has always felt towards Estella. And Estella has things she needs to let Connie know about her past and things that affect her now. The sisters have to learn to become family again while at the beach house, as well as learn more about their mother and the reality of their pasts.

This book was Kiernan's first, but was the second one I read. I'm glad I read them in that order because I have more faith in this author, as I loved her second book. This average novel had the potential to be an intense portrait of family, misunderstandings, and an interesting look into math and musical genius. Unfortunately, while it touched on a variety of topics, there was a lack of depth in each making the book seem too full of insignificant happenings. The main character, Connie, came off as whiny and the whole book was melodramatic. It wasn't very clear, or at least very realistic, for the sisters to have an 8 year gap in communication or for Connie to feel as resentful as she did. There were also many chapters that dragged on without moving forward in the plot. This book would have been better if it were maybe 100 pages shorter and focused more on a couple topics rather than throwing in so many various sub plots. However, don't let this deter you... I have read her second book, Matters of Faith, which was WONDERFUL and am looking forward to her new book in 2010.

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