I picked this book up at Value Village last week, and seeing that it was an Oprah Book Club book (does she still do that, by the way?) I figured it would be a good choice.
I finished it this evening, and I'm still not sure what I think about it. The Chicago Tribune called it "one of the year's best books." The Washington Post Book World called it "sweet, tender and chilling." The writing style was great. It's what sustained me throughout, because there were times when I was wondering how bitter can a woman get before she leaves her husband.
The story deals with a woman and her two children moving back to her home town with her out-of-work husband. They move in with his brutal parents who have secrets in their own closets that come out as the novel progresses. I enjoyed how the back story of the parents' bitterness revealed itself by the end, and that was the 'chilling' aspect of the Washington Post's review. I didn't, however, see much sweetness or tenderness.
Perhaps enjoying this story was hampered by my own personal views. I don't think I could stay in a loveless marriage. I don't think I could live with cruel in-laws. I think I would grab my children and run. Now, this story is set in the '70s, when I'm sure running from one's marriage was very taboo, but if anything, this story reminded me ever more of my strong backbone, and the consequences of having none.