Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Book Review: Belong to Me
Despite my obvious lack of book reviews on my blog, I do read books (as evidenced by my "mon-tage...") The problem is that I am severely unmotivated to commit to books during the school year because I have a tendency not to finish them. Summer is my reading time, and I'm usually able to get through 2-3 in those 10 weeks.
This summer, however, not so much. There is no excuse, I just didn't. So I was determined to complete at least one book before the summer's end. My reading schedule was interrupted by an impromptu visit to Solvang last week, but today I finally finished my book, Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos.
If ever there was a "slice of life" book, this is it. With wonderful language and dialogue, it invites you into the lives of several people, individually at first, and then their lives slowly start to intertwine. When they do blend together, you have already been introduced to everyone separately and know them fully, so there is no confusion. When the biggest revelation is revealed towards the end, you wonder how you didn't see it coming much sooner. As someone who is often able to foresee what is going to happen, I was happily surprised. No one likes a story that's too predictable.
The book begins with Cornelia Sandoval and her husband, Dr. Mateo ("Teo") Sandoval. They are new to town, childless, and trying to settle into their surroundings. Cornelia's chapters are always told in the first person, the only ones that are that way. Cornelia meets others in the town: Lake Tremain, the waitress at Vincente's Italian Restaurant, and her son, Dev, who is brilliant and fatherless. Lake and Dev are new to town too. Long-time residents Piper and Kyle Truitt are also introduced. Piper is immediately unlikable, almost bordering on a Stepford wife, but as you get to know her you find there is more than meets the eye. Piper's best friend is Elizabeth Donohue, who is dying of cancer and is married to Tom. Piper and Elizabeth each have 2 children, and are almost more married to each other than to their husbands.
The story is interesting, the characters are very well-developed, and the writing is excellent. I don't want to go into too much detail with the plot, but everyone's lives do get turned upside down by the time the book ends, and not necessarily in a bad way. You are reminded of many things while reading: not to judge someone by a first impression, forgiveness and love are choices you make, and change you thought you feared can actually turn out to be the best thing for you.
I recommend it, and I'm curious about the author's other works. Happy reading!