Close Your Eyes

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Title: Close Your Eyes
Author: Amanda Eyre Ward
Pages: 272
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: July 26, 2011

This is the third book I've read by Amanda Eyre Ward and I was again pleased by another engaging and interesting storyline. Now, it's been ages since I read the other two by her so I don't remember much about them, but there is a simplicity to her stories that I really enjoy. They typically pick up very quickly, and the characters are easy to relate to.

Six-year-old Lauren Mahdian and eight-year-old Alex Mahdian were spending the night in their treehouse the night their mother was murdered. Their father was arrested for her murder and incarcerated, while Lauren and Alex went to live with their grandmother. Now Lauren and Alex are adults and, while the two of them are close, they differ in how they've coped with their mother's death and father's arrest. Alex has aggressively pursued his own investigation to prove his father's innocence and has chosen a lifestyle that worries Lauren. Lauren, on the other hand, afraid to commit to anyone or anything, lives a life of numbness knowing her father murdered her mother. We are then introduced to a second similar but seemingly unrelated storyline regarding a pregnant woman, Sylvia, who escapes a bad marriage and tries to find solace in her childhood, wild child friend, Victoria. The two stories merge fairly predictably, and Lauren and Alex learn the truth about some family secrets and more about their mother's murder.

The "surprises" in the storyline were mild, but the plot, in general, was engaging. I initially felt a little disappointment in the character building because their dialogue seemed nongenuine and superficial. It improved quickly after that, however, and I did feel the characters come more to life, though they were never fully fleshed out. That being said, one of the things I've enjoyed about Ward's books is her succintness. She doesn't waste any time on unrelated aspects of the story. I can depend on the fact that her books will be thoughtful, yet somewhat short, reads.

Unrelated to the writing itself, I liked that the main characters were "ethnic" (half-Iraqi I think). It's not one of those things I notice lacking, necessarily, but I liked seeing it and find that I relate to more ethnic characters. And this wasn't anything that was central to or necessary for the story.

Some readers will probably say that Close Your Eyes wraps up too well in the end, but sometimes it's nice not to have to wonder too much. This was a nicely told story about how a traumatic incident can affect children in the future and about unearthing family secrets.

Follow the rest of the tour here:

Monday, July 11th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, July 13th: Starting Fresh
Monday, July 18th: A Bookworm’s World
Saturday, July 23rd: Take Me Away
Monday, July 25th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, July 26th: Bella’s Novella
Wednesday, July 27th: Colloquium
Thursday, July 28th: In the Next Room
Friday, July 29th: Luxury Reading
Monday, August 1st: Nomad Reader
Wednesday, August 3rd: Life in the Thumb
Thursday, August 4th: Rundpinne
Wednesday, August 10th: Crazy for Books


Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

I've only ever read one of her books but I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I like it. I am going to have to get my hands on a copy of Close Your Eyes.

Zibilee said...

I haven't read any books by this author, but sometimes appreciate stories that are succinct and sedate. It sounds like this one might make for a nice read to blow through at the beach. The thing is, not everything that you read needs to be a brain twisting thinking book, and it's nice to know that there are a few out there that you can simply sit back and enjoy. This was a really great review. I am glad you had such a good time with the book!!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I think I would enjoy this one. I read How to be Lost many years ago and it was a nice recommend at the time. I haven't really followed her since.

nomadreader said...

This one is next in my pile, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm also glad to hear you've enjoyed her other novels, as I had never heard of her before this one found its way into my hands.

heathertlc said...

Glad that you weren't disappointed, especially since you've enjoyed this author in the past.

Thanks for being on the tour.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

Actually I was coming her for Silver Sparrow and was told it doesn't exist. I am happy I checked on this review too.

Marlene Detierro said...

The ending of this book surprises and satisfies. This is another compelling read by Amanda Eyre Ward. There are many beautiful passages and memorable scenes. I won't put in any spoilers here, but if you read, read with a highlighter! Ward's style captures the moment in fresh new imagery.

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