Thursday, August 15, 2013

the saving graces: review

I threw this book in my vacation book bag not really sure what it was going to be about, but judging by the cover that it was summertime fare. I wasn't too wrong, though it's some often sad summertime fare. I enjoyed it in that 'I'm on holiday and can read as late as I want' kind of way, and yet have pondered for a week what to write about it, since it was in many ways 'just another book.' Or, should I say, another piece of chick lit trying to be taken seriously. My mom passed this book on to me knowing how she and I both love and celebrate our great girl friendships, and this book definitely does that.  

The Saving Graces, by Patricia Gaffney, is the story of a women's groups called - you guessed it - The Saving Graces. Over the years they've tried to add to the group, but it seems the four members, and the story's four heroines, form too tight a group for anyone else to really fit in. Unfortunately, the four main characters were all so thickly outlined that I couldn't really get into who they were. The 'crazy' one was too fully crazy; the uptight one too reliably uptight; the new-age zen mother figure a little too zen. I also thought it was odd that only one of the four women, all 30+, was a mother, and her child was at best tertiary to the story. I can't think of any four women I'd hang out with where that would be the case. Even though they all had their challenges and individual frustrations and hurts, I found it hard to really care about what happened to any of them. 

What kept me reading was the plot. Dealing with issues such as infidelity, infertility, cancer, and abusive relationships, there was a lot to chew on in each woman's story line. With such a complex plot, you would have thought the characters could have been as complex, but I suppose each writer has his or her own strengths, and Gaffney's plot strong arms her characters, right up until the end which I'm not sure how to write about without spoiling ... let's just say it could have been less heavy handed.

I recommend The Saving Graces for holiday reading. Or maybe for a few days at home sick in bed. It's a good story, but definitely not without its issues.

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