Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein

A Friend of the FamilyA Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those novels that snuck up on me and surprised me by how much I enjoyed it! I had no idea what the book was about until I began reading. This is a book that I want to be careful not to tell too much about in order to be sure that the future reader will experience the joy of watching this book unfold.

The novel itself is extremely well constructed. It's pacing is fantastic ... keeping you guessing while revealing just enough to keep you engaged and wanting more. The characters are well written and expertly developed over the course of the novel. They are well rounded - flawed, raw and incredibly, refreshingly human. Grostein did an exceptional job of writing the main characters voice - it can be difficult for women to write in an authentically male voice but she excels with it in this novel.

Grodstein's storytelling ability is stellar. Looking back over the novel, I'm amazed at how well she pulled it all together and brought the book to its conclusion. This is a novel about relationships and Grodstein does an amazing job of depicting those relationships as very true to life. The complex relationships and the way those relationships change is where this novel is so successful. This is a gripping tale about family and parental love. It goes to dark and twisty places but is very grounded in love.

I definitely recommend this book. There are some dark places in the book that can be difficult to read. Not scary or frightening but rather disturbing. But, I think that aspect of the novel was handled very well and is not in any way gratuitous. In fact, the story has to go to those places in order to get to the very heart of this novel.

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