Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Blind Faith Hotel, by Pamela Todd

When Zoe's mother and father separate, her Mom decides to pull up stakes and leave WA and relocate Zoe, her sister Nelia, and little brother Oliver to Minnesota. It isn't all about trying to get away from Dad. Mom has plans to try to resurrect her parents' house and turn it into a B & B.

Zoe resents having to leave Dad and also Mom's apparent lack of interest in her and her problems. Issues with fitting in in her new environment eventually end up with Zoe getting caught shoplifting. As restitution, Zoe has to work on a prairie restoration project, where she is able to develop a sense of self and gain some perspective.

Todd makes some nice insights about growing up, but the novel is something of a narrative mess. A wide variety of themes are picked up and dropped. Whether it's the B & B project, a boy interest, the passing fascination with a breeding pair of hawks, or even the Dad, I had a hard time figuring out what the point of any of this was. I have no problem with leaving a few loose ends with a story, but when hardly any part of the story reaches a conclusion, one really wonders what the purpose was of the writing. I probably missed the point of the whole exercise, but I don't feel compelled to give it another try.

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