I received this book as part of the Simon & Schuster Advisory Board recently and picked it up over the weekend. It's not what I'd normally read; I'm really not into dysfunctional families (and this one is a doozy), but the theme of the horse farm and the narrator, twelve-year-old Alice, appealed to me. This is a debut novel, and the author obviously knows how to write; she pulls you in seamlessly and keeps you turning the pages. But this book is relentless in its depression and dysfunction; poor Alice is standing on the outside of a family that is ready to combust and there seems to be no one to whom she can turn. There is very little redeeming value in any of the adults involved in this story; all of them seem to want things for Alice that will only appease them. I wanted to scream at the father for letting Alice work herself to death and also for allowing the mother to stay in the house with her depression: did it never occur to him to get her professional help? So this one provokes quite a reaction within me, which I suppose it what every author actually wants. Mission accomplished then!
Here's the link to my amazon review:
If you like these sorts of stories (I call them "Oprah" stories), you will love this one.