Monday, March 9, 2009
The Year of Fog
Back to reading! Between the broken arm and myriad sicknesses, I forgot I was supposed to be reading this year. So here's another one. I read The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond yesterday and well into early this morning (note to self, do NOT start a book the day after Daylight Savings begins).
On the front of the book it says that it was recommended for fans of Jodi Picoult. I've never read a thing by Ms. Picoult. I have a sneaking suspicion that someone who has written so many books may be bordering on formulaic and trite, but I won't rule her out if I get a good recommendation for a specific book, I suppose.
So I started this one with some doubt and I'm excited to report that it was really quite good. What's a notch up from your typical chick lit and yet nowhere near a "classic?" That. That's what we are working with here.
Here's the synopsis from Booklist via Amazon:
[The Year of Fog] traces a traumatic year in the life of photographer Abby Mason after she loses her fiance's six-year-old daughter. The moment Abby stopped to photograph a dead baby seal while walking on a fog-bound beach in San Francisco is one she will replay in her head a thousand times. That's the last time she saw Emma, who was racing ahead, eager to collect sand dollars. Panic and fear soon give way to sheer exhaustion and emotional shutdown as Abby and Emma's dad, Jake, immerse themselves in the desperate search for the missing first-grader. As the months tick by, Jake becomes convinced that Emma drowned, while Abby is sure that Emma was kidnapped. The trauma and the guilt wreak havoc with their relationship and with their struggle to regain a sense of normalcy. Richmond gracefully explores the nature of memory and perception in key passages that never slow the suspense of the search....this is a page-turner with a philosophical bent.
I'll go out on a limb and say that if you don't have children and have never been a caregiver, you will still enjoy the book, but the idea of the loss of a child won't cut you quite as deeply. I thought several times about my own babies and what I would do in the main characters shoes, which was very distressing.
I was expecting a very predictable ending and was happy to see that it was somewhat less predictable than I had predicted.
I don't put much stock in Amazon ratings. Out of 86 reviewers, 8 gave it one star and 33 gave it 5 stars. The rest were somewhere in between. I think those 8 were probably looking for a different kind of book altogether, as it's certainly not meritorious of only one star. And I think those that gave it 5 stars overlooked its flaws, though admittedly they were fairly few in number and none were overwhelming. My vote is somewhere in between with everyone else, but that's not a bad vote by any means, just as high as this genre is likely to get from me.
If you are interested in reading the book, let me know - it's in excellent condition and I'll mail it out for free. Consider it a gift for putting up with my rambling. If more than one person is interested, I'll pick names out of a hat.