Friday, August 21, 2009

Review: The Visibles

This novel examines a girl's attempts to come to terms with parental abandonment. By thirteen Summer Davis's mother had run off without a trace, and her father was descending into serious mental illness. Summer quickly becomes the adult in a family spiralling out of control. There's not much that I found surprising or unusual about the plot of this book. It is, in fact, quite predictable. Summer's troubled parents shape ways in which she approaches school, career, and relationships. The plot proceeds just as one might expect. The twist Shepard adds to this particular story is Summer's fascination with DNA. She is first introduced to the concept soon after her mother leaves, and Summer spends much of her young adult life pondering the nature vs. nurture debate in light of her particular situation. I found this theme to be contrived, however, as it is only loosely woven into the narrative, and it added little value and effect to the plot. While I found Shepard to be a good writer, I wished the book had been more imaginative.

Sara Shepard, The Visibles (Free Press, 2009) ISBN: 1416597360

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