Monday, July 28, 2008

Things I Want my Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble

This is the story of how 4 daughters and a husband cope with the death of their mother/spouse. Barbara had cancer, and while she fought it for awhile, she did pass away. Mark is her husband of 16 years (I think!). He is the father to Hannah, the youngest of the daughters. He is step-father to Lisa, Jennifer, and Amanda.

After the funeral, Mark hands each of the daughters a letter than their mother wrote to them. Each of the girls reads it in her or his own time and is affected differently. One of the daughters is given a journal that Barbara started to keep once she got sick. She is supposed to read it and then pass it to the others.

By reading the journals and the letters, the girls are able to learn a little bit more about their mother and also feel like she is close. It also helps them deal with things going on in their lives. Because, as you can imagine, once their Mother dies, the lives of each girl ends up falling apart.

Hannah is the youngest, she is 16. She meets an older boy and lies to her father in order to hang out with this boy. Mark knows she is lying and knows something is going on, but not sure what to do about it.

Amanda is a wonderer. She never stays in one place long. Soon after her Mother dies she comes back to town for the funeral and agrees to stay for a bit. She ends up meeting a boy. She also waits several months to read the letter from her Mom, and when she does, she hits rock bottom. Her Mother admits something in the letter that affects Amanda and leaves her with lots of questions and no way to get answers.

Jennifer is the only married one, but her marriage is in trouble. Jennifer is the type to hold things in and not talk about them. Now that her Mother is gone, she wishes she had talked to her about her marriage issues. She has been trying to get pregnant for several years, but nothing happens. Now she isn't even sure she wants to have a baby with her husband. Her husband and her are both unhappy with the marriage but not sure how to fix it.

Lisa is the oldest. She is living with Andy and when Andy proposes, she accepts. However the next day, she wishes she hadn't. In fact, she has cheated on Andy. She isn't sure what to do.

Mark has his own issues. He is grieving the loss of his wife, but at the same time, trying to comfort the four daughters and deal with everything going wrong in their lives.

Now, for those of you who are loyal readers, you might remember that I have read two previous books by Elizabeth Noble. I loved The Reading Group (although read it before I was doing reviews on my blog so alas – you can't read my review). I didn't like The Friendship Test. My review is here. In fact, I had said I wasn't sure if I would read any more of the author's books after I read The Friendship test. So…I did decide to read another of her books and I LOVED it! I was immediately drawn into all the lives of the characters. I wanted to know what was going to happen, would Jennifer and her husband make up, would Lisa leave Andy? This book has renewed my faith in this author and I know she has another I haven't read, so I might just pick that up next time I'm at the book store.

Have you reviewed this book on your website? If so, let me know and I'll include a link to your review below.


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