Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review: Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman

Red Hook Road 

Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a story that revolves around tragic and premature death, Waldman explored the aftermath with such success that I'm a bit taken aback. As all of my expectations fell away, I was able to see the genius in what Waldman did here - she used the tragedy to explore those age old questions of how to manage when your world blows up around you. In the end, it is a book about the human condition. The 'big stuff' that we all experience - love, grief, friendship, marriage, parenting, survival, growth.

What really made this novel superb was a combination of the writing, pacing and characterization. The characters that Waldman created just jump off the page. They are fantastic. They seem real in every way - flaws, strengths, weaknesses. It's all there for the reader to explore. Each character brought something interesting to the table for me - something for me to really think about and explore.

And the writing was just amazing. The first part of the book painted the wedding scene so effectively that I felt as if I was there - smelling the flowers, listening to the conversations, meeting the guests. The descriptive language was so well done! The prose was above and beyond good - it was at times hauntingly good. Certain passages literally brought me to tears. Others made me sit the novel down as I thought through the beautiful language.

I definitely recommend this book. I was very difficult for me to rate. I don't give a lot of 5 stars so I ultimately decided on a 4 star here but it was a really close to 5 rating!

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