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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Songs Without Words (Vintage Contemporaries) [Paperback] » User review

I guess I just didn't get it...POSSIBLE SPOILERS

  • Jul 7, 2010
Rating:
-2
This book just left me feeling indifferent.  I didn't really feel a connection with the characters in the story, or really seem to care ultimately what happened.  In fact, I believe I may have been a little disappointed that nothing major seemed to really happen in my opinion.  It was a little boring.

You have two women who were friends while growing up and came from different types of families.  One of them moves in with the other due to her mother's suicide and father moving away.  It seems to change the balance of the friendship, but before you can get a grasp on the relationship, the story progresses to decades later in which they seem to be best friends still, talking daily on the phone and visiting each other often.  I want to know how they got from "we couldn't even do our homework together in the same room anymore because it felt weird" to "when are you coming over for dinner again?".

You get a few tidbits from the in-between years, but nothing much.  One girl seems to be floating through life sampling this and that while the other has gotten married and had a couple of kids.

One of the kids is depressed and tries to kill herself.  She's saved and goes to therapy for awhile and seems to be better in the end.  There is a big deal though on how the friends whose mother committed suicide cannot be there for her friend because it's seemingly too painful.  The story never really explains itself other than "she just couldn't handle it".

Expected stuff happens.  The family is strained and the parents each handle it a different way, the other kid seems to go off on his own, and the suicidal kid has ups and downs on thinking.  In the end, it just seems like it all gets better and it's all sunshine and rainbows.  The two women make up, the parents are working together, the kids are happy, and everyone is moving on.

I really just don't feel like it offered anything unexpected or even worthwhile in terms of reading.  I just didn't find the story compelling in the end.

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About the reviewer
Kim ()
Ranked #1846
I married my high school sweetheart in 2006. We just bought our first home near where I grew up. We have a kitty named Essence and a dog named Hoover. I have a B.S. in Psychology & Criminal Justice. … more
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Packer follows her well-received first novel,The Dive from Clausen's Pier, with a richly nuanced meditation on the place of friendship in women's lives. Liz and Sarabeth's childhood friendship deepened following Sarabeth's mother's suicide when the girls were 16; now the two women are in their 40s and living in the Bay Area. Responsible mother-of-two Liz has come to see eccentric, bohemian Sarabeth, with her tendency to enter into inappropriate relationships with men, as more like another child than as a sister or mutually supportive friend. When Liz's teenage daughter, Lauren, perpetuates a crisis, Liz doubts her parenting abilities; Sarabeth is plunged into uncomfortable memories; and the hidden fragilities of what seemed a steadfast relationship come to the fore. Packer adroitly navigates Lauren's teen despair, Sarabeth's lonely longings and Liz's feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Although Liz's husband, Brody, and other men in the book are less than compelling, Packer gets deep into the perspectives of Liz, Sarabeth and Lauren, and follows out their conflicts with an unsentimental sympathy.(Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.--This text refers to theHardcoveredition.
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