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Sharon Solwitz: Bloody Mary

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Sarabande Books (Trade Paperback), ISBN 1889330930

Book: sharon solwitz, bloody mary
Bloody Mary opens just as Claire Winger, contented wife and competent mother of two daughters, experiences a recurrence of the petit-mal epileptic seizures that she last suffered as a child and from which she assumed herself completely cured. At the same time her younger daughter, Hadley, embarks on puberty with all the emotional upheavals that can accompany that phase of life. Not the best recipe for a restful read!

In this unflinching look at the lives of two women at a time when each finds herself hurled disconcertingly beyond all her comfort zones, Sharon Solwitz allows little space for rose-tinted spectacles. She explores family life and its close relationships with no holds barred. She digs up and turns over the bits that we like least to acknowledge -- that we sometimes dislike the people whom we love the most. She examines the bits that seem incomprehensible -- that we become better friends with someone once we admit that we no longer love them. She looks, too, at how a relationship seems only able to grow into another new and different one after (and despite that) one of its participants destroys, in the most hurtful of ways, the original precious bond.

Perhaps Solwitz writes mostly about turning points in this novel. Each woman learns eventually that life moves one along, out of one familiar phase and into another in which she must reinvent herself and re-evaluate her relationships. I didn't enjoy this book as a comfortable read, but one does not enjoy life as a comfortable road either. I appreciated the novel as a thought-provoking portrayal of personal growth, and I recognized some sadly foolhardy scraps of my own life path in it. It can be reassuring, perhaps, to realize that one does not blunder with uniqueness.

Moira Richards

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