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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

The Rest of Her Life - Laura Moriarty, Julia Gibson The angst of the mother-daughter relationship is thoroughly examined in this novel through the telling the story of a family in a time of crisis. The reader is informed at the very beginning of the story that the daughter was the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed another young girl. The mother wants to be supportive to her teenage daughter to help her through the crisis. But her daughter doesn't want to talk to her. It seems to the mother that everything she says is taken in the wrong way. The story's narrative then proceeds by delving into the mother's own childhood history, and we learn that she has managed to escape from a disadvantaged background by being everything that her own mother wasn't. She has done a very good job of fostering a supportive family environment for her own husband and children. But now in this time of crisis some the psychological scars from her childhood are coming back to haunt her in her relationship with her daughter.

The book is easy to read, and the reader's interest is maintained. The story is told in first person by the mother so the reader is pulled into the story in a very personal and introspective way. Another nice thing about the book is that all members of the immediate family (father, mother, daughter and son) are nice people who are easy to identify with. They don't have all the personality problems that so many characters in novels need to have in order to make the story interesting. Even the husband of the family loves his wife, is loyal to her, and goes out of his way to be a present and good father to his children. I mention the husband in this case because it seems to me that there are too many novels that describe unfaithful or absent fathers in order to make the story interesting. Now I'll admit this story does contain some characters outside the immediate family who make the story interesting by being a bit less civilized and prudent in their behavior. But overall, this story is more of an exploration of the psychological dynamics of family relationships than a story about physical actions taken. It's a credit to the author to be able to write a book about good people working through their problems, and still manage to make the story interesting to read.