May 2, 2011

The Bright Forever by Lee Martin

Title:  The Bright Forever
Author:  Lee Martin
Format:  HC
Pages:  268
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher:  Shaye Areheart Books, 2005
ISBN-13:  978-1400097913
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:    Maybe you've made up your mind about who's good and who's evil, and if you have -- if you're one of those -- God help you.  Ask anyone who was living in the middle of it all and they'll tell you:  it didn't have anything to do with good and evil; it was all about love.

Synopsis (Amazon):  On an evening like any other, nine-year-old Katie Mackey, daughter of the most affluent family in a small town on the plains of Indiana, sets out on her bicycle to return some library books.

This simple act is at the heart of The Bright Forever, a suspenseful, deeply affecting novel about the choices people make that change their lives forever. Keeping fact, speculation, and contradiction playing off one another as the details unfold, author Lee Martin creates a fast-paced story that is as gripping as it is richly human. His beautiful, clear-eyed prose builds to an extremely nuanced portrayal of the complicated give and take among people struggling to maintain their humanity in the shadow of a loss.

Review:  I started out the month of May with heartbreak.  This novel is sad and terrible, full of guilt, remorse and innocence lost.  I was hoping to find another novel as good as The Lovely Bones, which is one of my all-time favorite novels, when I picked this book out.  It's not quite that good.  It is, however, a story that I won't forget soon.

The story is told in turns, each of the main characters getting to tell a part of the whole story.  Each person brings their own perspective and feelings to the story they tell.  Only one man knows the entire story, though, and he only tells the last of it at the very end of the book.  I wanted to cry for poor nine-year old Katie, but I felt most sorry for her older brother, Gilley.  He is just a young man, still in high school, and he lost the remainder of his childhood and blamed himself endlessly for doing the one thing that started the whole horrible tragedy.  Of course, he couldn't have known that tattling on his sister would have such dire repercussions, but that didn't alleviate his guilt.

All the characters are human and flawed, with sparks of beauty and gentleness, just like most people.  The characters were well-written and the story well-told.  It was sometimes hard to keep up with whose point of view I was reading, but that's only because I tore through the chapters so quickly that sometimes I lost track.

This was a great way to enter a new month.  I really enjoyed this book.

Rating:  9 / 10

No comments:

Post a Comment

Back to Top