Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review: "Pictures of You" by Caroline Leavitt

One foggy day, about three hours from Cape Cod, two women's cars collide on the road. Both appear to be running away from their marriages. April dies in the crash, while Isabelle survives, and is left not only to pick up the pieces of her life in the town she had wanted to escape, but becomes entangled with April's devastated husband, Charlie, and their young son, Sam, who is riddled with guilt about the accident. Charlie can't understand why April wanted to leave, and what she was doing on that road far from home, Sam wants nothing more than to talk to or see his mother one last time, and Isabelle is torn between again wanting to escape and wanting to stay to take care of Charlie and Sam, despite her role in their misery. And as their lives unfold, they realize the impact of every decision, and how sometimes the "best" decision isn't always the right one.

Pictures of You had moments of heartbreaking poignancy and moments when I wanted to shake each one of the characters into action, and both contributed to my enjoyment of the book. No character was drawn to be flawless; at times I sympathized with each of them, and at times I wished someone would just tell them to get a grip. The book definitely exceeded my expectations and surprised me in a number of ways, and that made me happy. And while I am, admittedly, a total sap, it was Caroline Leavitt's well-written story, combined with the emotional power it packs, that kept me reading this book well into the night in order to finish it. Very well done.

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