Tag Archives: addictions

Reading as self-examination

I enjoy and am challenged by books written from the perspective of an unreliable narrator. The most recent one I read was The Good House by Ann Leary. Hildy Good is a descendant of one of the witches hung in Salem. She lives in the area north of Boston.

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The Good House by Ann Leary

The challenge for me came from deciding how much of her story was true and how much was skewed by her drinking. Her self-awareness and denial entertained me, but kept me wondering how far off she was in describing her behavior. Her children sent her to a rehab center, so she had to be less in control than she thought. But was her denial any different from what I might do? Do I want to face my behaviors truthfully? Deal with them rather than justify them?

Reading is for entertainment, education, and self-examination. The Good House covered all those purposes. What book has done that for you recently? Do you tend to stick with one purpose more than the others?

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Into the Free

I love a book that grabs me by that vacant place where my tonsils used to be and doesn’t let go. Into the Free is such a book. Julie Cantrell created a loveable character in Millie Reynolds. Loveable because she’s tough, honest, and still vulnerable. Millie longs for a stable family where the adults fill their roles, and she doesn’t have to.

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Into the Free conveys Depression-era Mississippi innocence along with the harshness of survival in a time of unemployment and poverty. Life is hard, Millie’s family life is harder, and still she marches on. While not duplicating Harper Lee’s Scout, Millie has enough of a Scout echo to strum heartstrings that adore Alabama’s favorite heroine. Millie’s music is an original song that captures her struggles and joys. It still plays in my head.

A five-star book for me is one that I’ll read again and that I find myself pondering scenes from as if they happened to someone I know. Into the Free is a definite five-star.

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