Thursday, January 22, 2015

TLC Book Tours Review: Migratory Animals by Mary Helen Specht

Title: Migratory Animals
Author: Mary Helen Specht
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publish Date: January 20, 2015
Source: TLC Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You like stories about sisters.
  • You don't mind tough subjects.
What's the Story?:

From "When Flannery, a young scientist, is forced to return to Austin from five years of research in Nigeria, she becomes torn between her two homes. Having left behind her loving fiancé without knowing when she can return, Flan learns that her sister, Molly, has begun to show signs of the crippling genetic disease that slowly killed their mother.

As their close-knit circle of friends struggles with Molly’s diagnosis, Flannery must grapple with what her future will hold: an ambitious life of love and the pursuit of scientific discovery in West Africa, or the pull of a life surrounded by old friends, the comfort of an old flame, family obligations, and the home she’s always known. But she is not the only one wrestling with uncertainty. Since their college days, each of her friends has faced unexpected challenges that make them reevaluate the lives they’d always planned for themselves."

My Two Cents:

Flannery believes that she will spend the rest of her life abroad. She is happy there, maintaining distant connections with her family. She only goes home when her vibrant younger sister, Molly, is diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, which is the same disease that took their mother. Flannery knows that she must give up her wants to go home to the sister who never left. This story is about different coping mechanisms in the face of the unknown.

This is a powerful debut that I enjoyed. Flannery and Molly's relationship is at the center of the book but they are surrounded by friends that are dealing with Molly's diagnosis as well. Each character has suffered their own heartbreak. It's not always a romantic heartbreak; it could be heartbreak over a broken family or a career that once started out so promising that has changed into something else. These characters are pulled together by Molly's illness and each of them faces it in a different way.

I really wanted to know more about these characters outside of the group. Each one very much has their own identity within the group that seems to limit them in some way. The book is really about how they relate to each other but not really to anyone outside of the group, which made me feel in some places that I was being held at arm's length.

Overall, I really enjoyed the writing in this book. It is the best part of the book. There were some really beautiful turns of phrase in this book that I really enjoyed. This is a good debut! 

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, January 20th: Based on a True Story
Wednesday, January 21st: Read Her Like and Open Book
Thursday, January 22nd: A Bookish Affair
Friday, January 23rd: A Patchwork of Books
Monday, January 26th: Olduvai Reads
Tuesday, January 27th: Book Loving Hippo
Wednesday, January 28th: Lavish Bookshelf
Monday, February 2nd: Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, February 3rd: Peppermint PhD
Wednesday, February 4th: Books and Things
Tuesday, February 10th: Tina Says …
Wednesday, February 11th: Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, February 12th: Books and Bindings

1 comment:

  1. I've always admired people who leave home to pursue their dreams in far away places. Flannery sounds like a fascinating character.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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