Sunday, April 13, 2014

Someone-Book Review

It has been a while since I have read a book worth reviewing.  I just finished Someone by Alice McDermott. This is a book worth reviewing and worth reading.

Someone is not much of a story, but it is not intended to be one.  It is a depiction of a character, Marie, a girl and then a woman who grows up in Brooklyn during the thirties. If you are looking for an action novel or one with an intriguing plot line, this is not it.  It is more like a puzzle, as if the author provides pieces of Marie and at the end we can put these pieces together to form a complete picture.

The book is not told in sequence. We meet Marie when she is young, but readers are taken to when she meets her husband; her baking lesson with her mother; walks with her dad, and interactions with her sweet brother Gabe. We meet her first boyfriend of sorts, characters in the funeral home where she worked for a spell, her children, the doctor who presided over the birth of her first child, and several others.  And not a lot is sequential.  She can be with her mother in one section- and in the next, she is 70 or so sitting with her daughter in a doctor's waiting room---and in the next is giving birth to her first child.

At the end of the first part of the book Gabe consoles Marie when her heart is broken. She wonders if anyone will ever be interested in her again.  Gabe assures her that "Someone" will.  I thought when I read that, that the title of the book would prove to be about this person who Marie will meet.

But it is not. The title refers to the person who is the composite of the puzzle pieces, Marie.  Her life is not especially unusual, except in the way that everyone's life is unique.  Who we meet, love, are parented by, have as siblings, spend work hours with--for all of us, we are "someone"--a composite of puzzle pieces.

Beautifully written novel.  McDermott is able to depict the nuances of Marie's interactions and her thoughts in a way that will make one marvel at the author's skill.

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