Sunday, August 22, 2010

On Mystic Lake

I really love my cats, but sometimes I really don't enjoy being a pet owner. My cats decided they HAD to eat at 5:30 this morning. That's even earlier than I get up during the week. I tried ignoring them, but they sounded like they were breaking the bedroom door down and scratching it so I gave in, then couldn't go back to sleep so I decided to catch up on some blog posts.

I read Kristin Hannah's Firefly Lane last year and loved it so when I saw her On Mystic Lake on sale at The Strand bookstore in NYC in May I picked it up. It's a about a woman who drops her daughter off at the airport for a summer abroad immediately following her high school graduation and when she and her husband get home he promptly tells her he's leaving her for another woman. That's not a spoiler, it's on the back cover and happens on about page 3. Up until that point Annie had a seemingly perfect life and it all comes crashing down on her. She decides to leave LA while her daughter is gone and go back home her small hometown in the Pacific Northwest where she rekindles a romance with a boy from high school.

I read the first half of this book very quickly, on an airplace home from LA actually. At that point I was a fairly captive audience because the other unread books I had with me were more literary and it was very late at night and I couldn't concentrate on those. Once I got home though, the book sat untouched for two weeks. But again, once I picked it back up, I finished it quickly. It's got a nice story and you care about the small town characters. The problem was with Annie. I just didn't identify with her at all. I think most women would though, so take this with a grain of salt.

Annie is completed identified by her husband and daughter. She's lost who she really is and has no life separated from them. I absolutely can't identify with that, but I know that is a common issue for mothers, so this may be a great book for someone going through that. For me, I couldn't understand how she got to that point. I can't fathom losing my identity that way. That's one of the many reasons I don't want kids. This made it hard for me to emphathize with her. I could understand why her husband left, even though he was clearly a jerk and had a lot of other issues himself once we get to know him a little bit better. I'm certainly not saying that he was right to leave her, just that I understand wanting to. I wanted to leave her at several points. I do think a lot of moms would identify with her though, so I don't want to leave the impression that isn't worth reading. It just didn't work well for me. I'm still going to try more of Hannah's books, and I strongly recommend Firefly Lane if you haven't read it.

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