Saturday, November 10, 2012

Abide With Me [Strout]

Book: Abide With Me 
Author: Elizabeth Strout 

Review: Tyler Caskey is a pastor in a small Maine town and is grieving his wife's untimely death from cancer. He feels he has lost his calling to God and his grief is coming across as arrogance to his parishioners, and he is so wrapped up in his own troubles that he fails to notice his young daughter has stopped talking. 

I loved 'Olive Kitteridge' and couldn't want to read this book. Strout writes beautifully and as someone from the northeast, I love how she brings the seasons and landscape to life. This is well written and description, and I enjoyed different perspectives from different townfolk but overall, I finished reading and felt unsatisfied. This first third of this book was very slow and it put me to sleep every night. I had trouble sympathizing with Tyler (this was set in the late 1950's and things were different then, but how can any parent fail to realize their own child has stopped talking?) and I did not understand his relationship with his housekeeper. His wife was an interested character-she was wealthy, married Tyler on the rebound and then quickly regretted her decision) and there were hints as to things in her past that were not fleshed out. Was she abused? Was she manic depressive or just depressed that she made the choices she did? I think if the book was centered more on her, it would have been more interesting. I also found the end (I'll avoid spoilers) to be unrealistic. 

Overall-gorgeous writing but the characters fell flat. 

Grade: 3/5

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