This is the third book selected by a small book group I recently joined. The group that meets at LaDeDa is still going strong - about 10 years or so. In fact, on Friday we met for our belated Christmas party and celebrated with pizza, and a white elephant gift exchange. I was lucky to be re-gifted one of the items I gave last year.
Let me back-up. Many years ago, I found a Marie Osmond doll at St. Vinnie's. I'm not talking a little Barbie type doll; this treasure is at least three feet tall and came with patterns so I can sew her a collection of totally mod fashions. Won't happen. Included in her storage box was a king size pillow case with a screened photo of a pre-pubescent Donny lounging. The moment Nancy opened her gift last year, a wave of regret flooded through me - not quite to my soul, but still rather deeply. Nothing could have pleased me more than re-getting this pillow case, unless it was the three nun finger puppets, the post-it note collection, the Penzy spices with a 2015 expiration date, or the bathroom freshener. All in all, a grand night.
Back to the book now....much of what I am going to say is speculation since I had little time to read last weekend due to a poopsick doggy. Vet says there is some sort of intestinal upset (no sh*t) and gave her antibiotics. I suspect she drank a cup of coffee that I had misplaced.
OK. The book. The title hints at much, wouldn't you say? A book of secrets? Then there are the opening lines, "Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet." I figured the story arc would focus on the how and why of Lydia's death, and to an extent, it does. The bigger story is the day to day functioning of two generations and the impact the sins of the first have on the next. In the 1970's, a Caucasian girl marrying a Chinese boy was not acceptable. Who committed that sin - the young married couple or the mother who refuses to bless the union? What about parents who readily admit they favor one of their three children over the others? I can't forget to mention the parent who pushes a daughter to excel in areas she herself was unable to pursue due to her responsibilities as a wife and mother.
This is the story of the complexities of family life. So far, it is not a happy story and I fear that will not change. But the real-ness has drawn me in and I no longer wonder about Lydia's death. It is the impact of that death that will siphon truths from each character. Where that will lead, I'm not sure, but I suspect this may be a book with an ambiguous ending.
Thanks for stopping by.