Saturday, February 23, 2013

Is This Tomorrow by Caroline Leavitt

I gratefully received this advance reader's copy from Net Galley and Algonquin Books. This book will be released in May of 2013.

In 1956, when divorced working-mom Ava Lark rents a house with her twelve-year-old son, Lewis, in a Boston suburb, the neighborhood is less than welcoming. Lewis yearns for his absent father, befriending the only other fatherless kids: Jimmy and Rose. One afternoon, Jimmy goes missing. The neighborhood—in the era of the Cold War, bomb scares, and paranoia—seizes the opportunity to further ostracize Ava and her son.

Lewis never recovers from the disappearance of his childhood friend. By the time he reaches his twenties, he’s living a directionless life, a failure in love, estranged from his mother. Rose is now a schoolteacher in another city, watching over children as she was never able to watch over her own brother. Ava is building a new life for herself in a new decade. When the mystery of Jimmy’s disappearance is unexpectedly solved, all three must try to reclaim what they have lost.

This insomniac's opinion:

This novel was so beautifully written. As a mother, I dread seeing the photos of missing children that are constantly in the news. I wonder how a family can continue to go on as the years pass without answers to what happened after a child never comes home. This novel covers the stretch of a decade after the disappearance of young, beloved Jimmy. The story was beautiful in the same way a terribly sad song is: you can admire the beauty of the sadness, even feel enveloped in it, but are so grateful to be on the outside and not experiencing the tragedy yourself. I fell in love with all of the characters and wanted for them to be able to move on with their lives and find peace. And- Jimmy, oh how I wanted them to find sweet Jimmy safe and sound, even though I knew from the book synopsis that this would likely not happen. At the end of the novel, we get the answers to Jimmy's disappearance that everyone has been seeking. Unfortunately, there may never be closure in something as horrendous as the disappearance of a child.

If you deplore endings that are a bit open, and don't really leave you with a concrete sense of what will happen to the characters,then you may not like the ending to this novel. But, I loved how the reader gets to decide for themselves just what will happen to the characters. I choose hope, happiness(if guarded) and love-for all of them.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes! It has a little bit of everything- drama, mystery and even romance. Sadly, almost desperately, beautiful.


5 stars

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