Sunday, September 12, 2010
Review: A Scattered Life
Author: Karen McQuestion
Pub Date: August 2010, AmazonEncore
ARC Paperback, 255 pages
Book Source: Received my copy from the author for review.
Free spirit Skyla Plinka has found the love and stability she always wanted in her reliable husband Thomas. Settling into her new family and roles as wife and mother, life in rural Wisconsin is satisfying, but can't seem to quell Skyla's growing sense of restlessness. Her only reprieve is her growing friendship with neighbor Roxanne, who has five kids (and counting) and a life in constant disarray--but also a life filled with laughter and love.
Much to the dismay of her intrusive mother-in-law, Audrey, Skyla takes a part-time job at the local bookstore and slowly begins to rediscover her voice, independence, and confidence. Throughout one pivotal year in the life of three very different women, each will learn what it means to love unconditionally.
While not my typical reading fare, I can see how the story in A Scattered Life would have widespread appeal. At just 255 pages it is an easy read that was a breeze to get through, although I have to admit that by the time I finished it I was a bit underwhelmed by the overall story. The potential was there for a great book (even though it would probably still not be one I would choose for myself), but I thought it fell short in several ways.
Both the characters and the plot really needed to be fleshed out in a bit more detail. So many of the characters, whether the women of focus or some of the supporting cast, really felt stereotyped and not individualized the way they could have been. Audrey was the rather annoying, meddling mother-in-law, while poor Skyla was trying to find herself and be understood by her husband and his family, and then there's the crazy new neighbor, Roxanne, her husband, and their wild group of boys. As for the story itself, it was alright, but would have been better for a bit more depth and an ending that wasn't quite so rushed. Given the relative shortness of the book, I don't think it would have hurt if it was a bit longer, if that means including more detail that adds both to the plot and to the emotional depth.
While tragedy eventually rears its ugly head (and we all know how I feel about stories like this--it was a disappointment when I realized where the story was heading), there is a glimmer of hope and happiness that peeks out at the end of the book. If only the means to the end hadn't been so scattered and ultimately heartbreaking, I would have enjoyed this book more. As noted at the beginning of this post, I received this book for review from Karen McQuestion, and would like to thank her for sending me a copy!
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