Thursday, December 27, 2007

Breathe My Name by R.A. Nelson

This was one of those books that's left me feeling neither here nor there. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't spectacular. Something was missing but I can't quite put my finger on it. The novel is about 18-year-old Frances, or Francine depending on which family you're talking about. Frances is a girl with a great life. She's got loving parents, annoying brothers, a great best friend and a crazy but loving new boyfriend. Overall she's got a life people would be happy to have, except for the secret she holds. Suddenly a lawyer shows up at her door, bringing Francine and her other mother back into Frances' life. Eleven years ago Francine's mother killed three of her four daughters. She was in the process of killing Francine when a stranger came and saved the day. Shortly after that happened, Francince was adopted and became Frances. Now the lawyer shows up with a letter from the murderous mother, claiming that they need to finish what they started. (Her mother was found not guilty by reason of insanity but had recently been making a strong recovery). Frances needs to see her mother, even though she knows her new parents would forbid it. In order to get around this, she and her boyfriend sneak off under the cover of a weekend school trip. They find characters from Frances' past and eventually discover her long-lost mother.

Like I said earlier, this book didn't make a strong impression one way or the other. The only thing that bothered me was that it took so long to find out what actually happened eleven years ago. By reading the front flap I knew what happened, but it took about 100 pages to actually say. Even then, it wasn't any real deep details. The novel had a habit of slipping between past and present, showing Frances' life in "Fireless" with her mother. It did a great job of showing her mother's psychosis but wasn't that impressive. It sort of reminded me of the Ya-Ya sisterhood and how the mother could be wild and crazy, the children's best friend, but at the same time, deeply troubled. The mother was a nicely constructed character.

This book wasn't bad but I don't feel as though I should run around singing it's praises. Give it a shot if the story interests you. That's all one can say.

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