Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review-The Good Daughters, by Joyce Maynard


Joyce Maynard
William Morrow
September 2010
$24.99, 288 pages

Power lines are down, trees are falling, winds gusting pushing rain to vertical, but you would expect that in a hurricane. So, as this story opens in October 1949, this violent storm surrounds the Plank and Dickerson families in New Hamphire. The aftermath of a hurricane can be devastating and permanent, and so like the hurricane, when Ruth and Dana are born, nine months later, their births are permanent but the devastation will not show up until many years later.

The story is told by Ruth Plank and Dana Dickerson in alternating chapters. In this way the author allows an intimate view of their persona and thoughts. Without this form, I doubt the reader would feel the empathy of their struggle. The families couldn’t be more different, and so there are clues from the onset that there is some mix-up with the two girls.

The Planks live on a farm with permanence and consistency. Val Dickerson is an artist, her husband a dreamer with a penchant for get rich patents. In contrast, their lives are transient and inconsistent.

Ruth and Dana go through life feeling an odd sense of disconnect with their families, but shirk it off as nothing to worry about. They each feel, it just is what it is. Ruth accepts her mother’s distance and focuses on her drawings, obsessing about Ray Dickerson, Dana’s sexy brother. Dana, yearns to be a farmer, increasingly aware that she is a lesbian, and finds love with Clarice.

This clever story of innuendo and secrets provides a curious puzzle as you witness the girls lives unfold. The author’s use of foreshadowing throughout keeps your mind spinning. Like gossip, you keep wanting more details. You feel increasing compassion for the ultimate betrayal the girls will discover. Yes, and you will probably cry with this one too. The reality is, the reader still has much to learn and figure out as the author reveals the ultimate devastation this hurricane left behind.

Disclosure: This was sent to me from the publisher for review for Library Thing, Early Reviewer Group.

Article first published as Book Review- The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard on Blogcritics.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].


Darlene said...

Nice review. This book sounds fantastic. Yet another for the wishlist.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I love Joyce Maynard's books, and as soon as I learned of this one, I preordered it.

Now I really can't wait to read it!

Nice review....

wisteria said...

Dar...Thanks! The ever growing wishlist. I know the feeling. This is a good addition.

Laurel- It's a keeper. :)
Thanks for stopping by.

bermudaonion said...

I'm so excited about this book because I loved Labor Day by the same author.

Iliana said...

Oh how doesn't love a good family drama! This should be an interesting an one - I like the alternating viewpoints.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

What a fabulous review! You really hit the nail on the head. I love the way Maynard writes!

wisteria said...

Bermuda..I plan to read Labor Day soon now that I enjoy her writing so much. life can offer a lot to write about

Diane..Thanks so much. I know you liked this one too, and Maynard really does write well.

Ti said...

I really enjoyed her writing in Labor Day so I am looking forward to this one. It just sounds so good.

wisteria said...

I have also heard that Labor Day is wonderful. I'm glad you liked it. I am planning on reading it as well.

Literary Feline said...

I read another book by this author years ago and was excited to see her name pop up again (I've also been seeing lots of reviews of Labor Day). This does sound like a great book, one I would enjoy. Thank you for the great review!

Aisle B said...

What a plot and it sounds quite intense with a catchy title The Good Daughters. Will have to look up this author since the comments seem to applaud her works. Thanks for bringing it into my reading radar :)

Will put this down on TBR list.