Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Belong to Me

I recently read Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos and I wanted to tell you about it because this is such a lovely book about friendship, redemption, and loss. It feels like real life when you're reading it, even though the situations might be a bit far-fetched. The prose is just gorgeous, filled with warm soothing moments as well as moments of distraught fury.

The story is that of an upscale suburban neighborhood, where Cornelia Brown and her gorgeous husband Teo have just relocated after living in the city. Cornelia was fearful of suburbia, and struggles to make new friends with the women of the neighborhood. Her resolve is sorely tempted when she meets her neighbor Piper, an uptight, perfectly dressed and coiffed mother of two clean, well-behaved children. Piper isn't a welcoming sort and makes immediate demands of Cornelia, telling her how to care for her garden and garbage. One of THOSE neighbors! Just as Cornelia despairs of ever making new friends, she meets Lake, a waitress at a local dive. Lake and Cornelia share a love of old movies and literature, and soon become fast friends. Lake is the single mother of a very gifted teenage son, Dev, and is also a newcomer to their community, where they settled for Dev to attend a school for the gifted.

It turns out that Piper isn't as horrid as she first appears, as she is actively caring for her best friend Elizabeth, who is dying of cancer. Piper is caring for her own household with a husband that does nothing to help her, as well as Elizabeth's household, her two children, and her husband who is unable to reach beyond the fact that his wife is dying. As Elizabeth gets sicker, Piper becomes more and more human, opening up her emotional baggage and reaching out to Cornelia as a new and valued friend. Meanwhile, Lake, who is harboring a huge secret from Cornelia, screws up her own relationship with her son due to her lies, and the walls all come tumbling down as the secret is revealed.

After Elizabeth dies, Piper's husband leaves her, saying that she wasn't emotionally there for him, and that he met someone else, who turns out to be the nurse at the kid's pediatricians office. Piper is glad to be rid of him, and is attracted to Elizabeth's husband. She ends up moving in with him, albeit platonically, in order to care for all four children, and finds herself happy for the first time in years. As Piper's happiness becomes apparent, Cornelia, who is pregnant at last, finds herself embroiled in Lake's terrible secret and is unsure of which way to turn. Trying to stay true to herself and her husband becomes every more difficult as the betrayal, loss, and love all become jumbled together to challenge her marriage in ways she never thought possible.

This book is bound to be one of my favorite reads. It has so much spirit, so much energy, and so much love in it that I was unable to put it down. This is what contemporary literature should be like, a book that keeps you in suspense from beginning to end as you try and navigate the emotional tidewaters of each character's life. It's that good!

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Blogger Daisy said...

This sounds excellent. My "summer reading" list gets longer every day.

30/4/08 7:35 PM  

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