The New Novel That No Mother Can Put Down
- Did you like the book Gone Girl, last year's hit novel by Gillian Flynn?
- Do you make time for the frothy fun of TV's Gossip Girl?
- Did Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones find a space on your bookshelf?
- Like the step-by-step, surprise-around-each-corner unfolding of shows like Law & Order/The Killing?
- Are you a mom, a sister, an aunt, a friend to a child/tween/teen?
- Do you have a daughter?
- Does the use of social media and childhood bullying interest you?
- Are you headed for the beach this summer?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, I have the book you should buy/download/borrow TODAY!
It's called Reconstructing Amelia, by first-time author Kimberly McCreight, and debuted to rave reviews earlier this month.
Broadly speaking, the book is about a single mother's quest to understand the suicide of her teenage daughter—but I won't say much more, so that I don't spoil all the fascinating and heartbreaking twists the book takes! As the parent of a toddler girl who will someday become a teenage girl, this novel really affected me. (Oh, and I answered yes to ALL of the questions in my little quiz, above, so I sure was primed to become absorbed in this novel.)
But like any good book, while it's ostensibly about one specific family and one group of people in one geographical area it's ALSO really about adolescence in the modern day, and about how to navigate all the ups and downs that come with that period. It's about the naturally intense, but naturally fraught relationship between parents and their children; about the secrets we all keep from each other—for reasons good, bad and ugly.
A mother of two girls who herself lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn (where the book is set), McCreight weaves together traditional prose with new media tidbits—Facebook postings, Tweets, blog posts, and other realities of everyday communication.
Tied up in those messages can be secrets, lies, indiscretions, exaggerations, and so much more. And as if it wasn't already something I believed, this novel shows you that even when you try your hardest, it can be impossible to really know everything about someone—even your own flesh and blood.
I'd love to hear how other parents who actually HAVE teenagers currently handle all the secrets and lies that can build up during these heady years.
You want them to build independence but you want a level of transparency as well. So, is it merely a matter of setting limits with social media or does it go way beyond that? What might someone like myself do NOW to lay the foundation for a healthy relationship and a healthy teenager later? Or is it simply just too naive to think we can really control all that?