Thursday, January 08, 2009

All We Know of Love, by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Four years ago, Natalie's mother walked out on her and her Dad. Now she has decided to go to Florida in hopes of finding her mother and sorting out why her Mom left. The 24 hour bus trip from Connecticut gives Natalie the opportunity to reflect upon the meaning of "love" and how it has affected her life. But more than an exercise in navel-gazing, Baskin shifts the narrative's POV and inserts anecdotes about love from incidental characters along the way. There are a number of odd plot twists and the story is only slowly revealed, but the overall result is an ode to the various meanings of love.

A thought-provoking novel with a lot to say. Baskin keeps the prose sparing and wraps the whole thing up in 200 pages, which is a blessing as an introspective book like this could have easily gotten tough to plow through. In fact, this is a novel that could easily have gone astray as Baskin trucks out more than the usual quota of YA cliches, but she is masterful at keeping things on track and focused. There has certainly been way too much written on the subject so one might wonder what Baskin could really add to the subject of love, but this story is repackaged in a way that makes it quite intriguing. A good read. If not perfect, it is at least well worth cracking open.

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