Sunday, February 11, 2007

Vacation Book Report #10

The Bright Forever (2005) by Lee Martin

**** out of five

Coach Mom received this book from my sister for Christmas and it is just not her cup of tea. She told me she couldn't read it because it was "all over the place, a different chapter for each character, and the first chapter is just two sentences. What kind of writing is that?" While all these statements are true, the cover also said it was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for fiction, so I gave it a go.

The story: In a small midwest town, a nine-year girl disappears after riding her bike to the library after dinner to return her overdue books. Her math tutor and his down-on-his-luck neighbor are suspects. The suspects and the girl's family tell their stories of what happened, as do many others in the community.
The book got me through our flight from the Bahamas to Ft. Lauderdale, a two-hour layover, and most of our flight to Boston. I felt warmly towards the book while I was reading it, but it seems less substantial as I think about it today. Partly I liked it because it was set in a small town in 1971, and I knew all the references, from pop culture to the security of small town life. I had pretty much figured out whodunit 3/4 of the way through, but wanting to know exactly what happened kept me reading. The prose is a lot leaner than the last two lush fiction writers I read.

Final stats:

10 books read;

2 nonfiction, 7 fiction, 1 falsely labeled nonfiction but mostly made up;

authors: 4 female, 6 male;

rankings: one 5-star, two 4 1/2 star, two 4 star, one 3 1/2 star, two 3 star, one 2 1/2 star, one no star.

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