Saturday, September 12, 2009

September Sisters, by Jillian Cantor

As this story opens, Abby's father is about to tell her the fate of her younger sister who disappeared two years ago. But before we can find out, the story jumps back to the moment of her sister's disappearance and walks us through what has happened in the interim. As a result, we have the knowledge that there will be resolution of this story to come (but we simply do not know what it is). The result is a heavy gloom over this story of loss, grieving, and a family coming apart.

The way the story unfolds will not surprise anyone. Abby's mother falls into madness, her father grows protective and clingy, her friends drift away, and Abby herself fights loneliness and abandonment. A lone bright spot is the boy who moves in next door and provides a brief romantic spark.

The book is well-written, but hardly original. To its credit, the book doesn't drag nearly as much as it probably should (having stretched this story out over 350 pages), but it just doesn't have much to say. What was the point of the story? Did we learn anything new about grief? Or about the process of healing? Were we entertained? The truth is that this story has been told before. Telling it again, without anything new to add seems like an empty exercise.

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