Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Learning not to drown.

by Anna Shinoda
August 2014

The book begins with this quote: "If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." George Bernard Shaw.

Clare's family has a skeleton in the closet and he won't leave. As a matter of fact, he really won't stay in the closet. He hangs around the house and accompanies Clare to school, to the lake, everywhere.  Skeleton is, of course, not a real character but the onus that the family lives with every day.  Living in a small town, everyone knows what happened with Luke (Clare's brother) and what he is.  Clare knows that Luke is a great big brother and she loves him so much. Each time Luke gets in trouble Clare's parents tell her that he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But Luke gets out of a stint in  prison when Clare is 17 and a senior in high school.   With awareness that comes with maturity and actual contact with Luke rather than simply the big brother she knows from the letters from prison, Clare starts to understand just who Luke really is.

I like the way that the book slowly revealed the truth. We learn it as Clare does.  There are chapters labeled "Now" and some that are from the past.  These pieces of the puzzle come together nicely. I think that we can understand the love Clare has for Luke despite his trouble.

We don't get as sympathetic a picture of Clare's parents, but the book is told from her perspective so maybe we're not supposed to completely understand them.

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