Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Family Secrets

The Things Left Unspoken are Jo-Lynn’s family secrets, but they are also her own struggles to find herself. Author Eva Marie Everson has woven themes of past and present; married love and love of children; right and wrong, into a powerfully complex story. When Jo-Lynn returns to her family home to renovate it, she thinks she is responding to her husband’s mid-life crisis. Surrounded by loving family, she gradually realizes that she is also experiencing a mid-life crisis. She can’t help comparing her marriage to the loving couples of all ages that she sees around her. These godly men and women are also loving parents and children, and Jo-Lynn has to face her feelings about being childless. But the story is as much about Jo-Lynn’s great-aunt who faced marriage and children problems decades earlier. Her wisdom helps Jo-Lynn eventually resolve her own crisis. The stories develop gradually, and the book is so well written that I hung on every word. As a writer, I marveled at how Everson effortlessly followed all the rules I have learned and struggled to apply. But as a reader, I couldn’t put the book down. I cared about Jo-Lynn, although I thought she was extremely self-centered. I saw some of myself in her and maybe that is why I liked her. I loved Aunt Stella, her husband, her father and the rest of the family. I was surprised by the family secrets and worried that they would reveal flaws in the people I cared about. I watched them all anxiously, hoping they would do the right thing.My only disappointment in the book was that the ending felt rushed. It felt like, after revealing the big secret, Everson brought all the threads together and tied them in a quick knot, instead of the beautiful bow I was expecting. Perhaps she was reflecting life itself, but I felt cheated. But there is a very touching scene at the very end that partly alleviated my disappointment, and the rest of the book is worth the ending.

I highly recommend Things Left Unspoken. You can read more about the book and the author here.

Eve Marie Everson, just started teaching a class on dialogue. Find out more about it here.



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