Saturday, July 23, 2011
Author: Amanda Eyre Ward
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