Thursday, July 10, 2008

And Today's Book Is...

I have been thoroughly enjoying the summer; so many things to catch up with, especially reading. Today I'm highlighting a brand-new book that I read recently. Thus, without further adieu,

Today's book is:

Between Here and April by Deborah Copaken Kogan

The central character in this novel is Elizabeth Burns, a journalist and a mother, who is trying desperately to manage the demands and desires of both. Frustrated both with the demands of her home life, as well as with the path her career has taken, Elizabeth tries to revitalize both by investigating the murder of her elementary school best friend, April. April mysteriously disappeared from school in first grade, and it was never entirely clear to 6 year-old Elizabeth precisely what had happened. When Elizabeth the adult and mother discovers that April was killed, along with her sister, by her mother in a murder-suicide, she turns her investigation to what could have April's mother to take her own life and those of her children. Into this story is woven a narrative of Elizabeth's feelings on her family and career. She has made significant sacrifices as a journalist, her marriage has problems, and she never feels quite adequate as a mother. Bouncing between these two narratives, Kogan shows how Elizabeth's investigation of April's death forces her to think seriously about her own family and career problems. Though the two clearly intersect, this book can be considered two parallel stories involving the same characters. The mystery story- what happened to April- I found to be far more satisfying than the family narrative. The investigation of April's death reads like a fast-paced mystery, and I was gripped to find out what would happen next. It allows Kogan to engage difficult problems, like post-partum depression, and in many ways, April's desperate mother is the most complicated character in this book, The family narrative I found far less satisfying. Elizabeth's problems are common ones, and this novel really did not offer any sort of new perspective or insight. I found this book hard to put down because I was extremely engaged in the mystery of April's murder, but found it somewhat difficult to get through other parts of the book.

Deborah Copaken Kogan, Between Here and April (Algonquin, 2008) ISBN: 1565125622

1 comment:

Jill said...

I just read and reviewed this myself and I think that you're right...the storyline about her marriage took away from the heart of this novel.