Author: Elizabeth Reeder
Publisher: Kohl Publishing
Publish Date: October 1, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a fiction fan.
- You like good writing.
- You like dysfunctional families.
From Goodreads.com: "When Rachel Roanoke sees Hal Fremont across a diner counter, she claims him as her own. Their first date takes place in the registry office and then they set out for the small, suspicious town Hal calls home. There, in the crumbling hallway of that mock-antebellum house, Rachel and Hal consummate their marriage and start to build their rambunctious brood. Against their parents' ill-starred fairy tale romance, the Fremont children fight for their territory within the shifting, bitter bonds of family. In this tale of prejudice, identity and desire, Fremont becomes a map of survival. The brilliant second novel from Elizabeth Reeder, author of Ramshackle, shortlisted for the Anobii First Book Award."
My Two Cents:
Fremont is incredibly difficult to explain. It covers some heavy subject matter (family ties, prejudice, adultery, etc.) but it's written in a sort of dreamy way. There's also a hint of magical realism, which is always a hit with me (although, I sort of wish that there had been more). This was sort of a hard book to read at some point because you really want things to work out better for the family throughout the entire book.
I will be the first to admit that I really like stories about dysfunctional families. I can't quite put my finger on why I like them so much. The Fremonts are certainly dysfunctional. You have the absent father who can't even keep the names of his own kids straight. You have the mother who seems hell bent on having more kids even to the detriment of the family that already exists. The kids also are dealing with all of their own issues. This book explores how even the most dysfunctional family can still be a unit, for better or for worse.
The writing in this book is great. In fact, it's probably one of my very favorite things about this book. Even with the difficult subject matter, the book almost as a floating, dream-like sort of feel. It made it really interesting to read this book through the nebulous prose. The only issue with this sort of writing in this book is that I felt like I was missing out on some of the detail of the characters and their motivations. Why did Hal cheat all the time? Why did Rachel want so many children in the first place? Was it more than just the map?
Bottom line: A difficult family story with great writing.