Sunday, August 8, 2010

#118 Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb


This is off the website:

From Publishers Weekly

When the Bommarito sisters, Isabelle and Janie, hear that their domineering mother is going in for open heart surgery, they must forget the trauma of their childhood and return to their riverside Oregon hometown, Trillium River. Taking care of their mother and their demented grandmother (who believes she's Amelia Earhart) and watching after their mentally handicapped brother, Henry (possessed of an almost saintly, unconditional love for people), the independent sisters try to find a place in the world they've left behind. Lamb (The Last Time I Was Me) delivers grace, humor and forgiveness along with a litany of family trauma, which might seem heavy-handed in lesser hands. Fortunately, this finely pitched family melodrama is balanced with enough gallows humor and idiosyncratic characters to make it positively irresistible. (Aug.)

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Well this review leaves out Cecilia who is the third sister, I guess because she didn't need to come back to their childhood home she still lived in the area.
The characters were all "off" but wonderfully written!!  I cried quite a bit throughout this one.  It was fantastic.  The grandmother who thinks she is Amelia Earhart was so funny.  She seems so out of reality, but in her way she is able to process it all through her dementia.
I had a hard time with the character of their mother River.  At times I hated her and at others I pitied her.  She had a tough life, but some of it was her own pride's making. 
And of course the title character Henry is amazing.  I think how sad it is that only people with disabilities such as him are able to be such truly loving people.  There are so few other people able to keep from getting jaded by life.  He was a delight and I kept wishing that I knew him in real life.  He had such a great capacity for love. 
And yes, when I read a good book I do start thinking of the characters as real people.  This book was definitely one of those that I had to remind myself it was fiction.  Which is high praise to me.  I loved this book and give in an A+!!!!

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