Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lynelle By the Sea by Laurie Lico Albanese

(Photo taken from Goodreads)

Title: Lynelle By the Sea
Author: Laurie Lico Albanese
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Language: English
ISBN - 10: 0525945369
ISBN - 13: 978-0525945369

And buy it on sale I did. Ever since then, I have been alternating between satisfaction and regret. I cannot entirely say that this is a bad book, nor could I say for sure that this is a good one.

The story is about two mothers who lost a child. One loses a baby two days after its birth, the other one had her baby stolen from her. Their lives become intertwined as the author explores motherhood, loss, and forgiveness.

So now let me talk about my ambivalence in praising and/or hating this book: I have nothing against the story. I think it is very moving, poignant, and, although a bit sad, hopeful. The characters are lovable in their own way. Told through different points of view: Lynelle narrating her side in her working-class words, and Annie and her family's story described from a third person narrative, the story shifts from the hopeful, hopeless, pathetic, and almost dreamlike state of Lynelle to the regimented, tired, frantic, and forgiving life of Annie. This style of narration provided the reader with much insight into each characters and extracted the right amount of sympathy for each.

The story provided a myriad of symbols: Lynelle's attempt to reach her mother's spirit in a crucial time of her life, baby Dylan's appearance into her life, breastfeeding, and several others that provide insight into motherhood, the bond between mother and child, and the sense of loss when that bond is broken very early on in life.

The characters and imagery are also very believable and almost tangible. Unlike most novels and most stories of kidnapping children, this story provided an in-depth view of the kidnapper's mind frame, eliciting sympathy and understanding for what was done, in the most human way possible.

But on the other hand, while I could have enjoyed the story, I felt that the first part was a drag. While I could understand the drama and the gradual revelation of each character's personality, I could not help but get slightly bored in the first few chapters. Maybe I am just a very impatient reader, always excited to get into all the action, that I could not quite appreciate the meticulously-drawn background of the women and their lives. Or maybe the writer was actually too verbose. In this regard, I would like to ask those who have read this book, or are planning to read it, to give me their opinion: Is it the author, or is it just me?

So maybe the reason why I sort of do not like it is personal, but when I read past those dragging parts, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, with its simple plot, simple characters, and complex emotions. I say simple plot but complex emotions because not everyone can understand how a mother feels when she loses a child, but losing a child is something that happens everyday. I do not only mean that literally, but also in the figurative way that a mother loses a child to puberty, to other interests. If you can look past the drag I got myself into the first few chapters, this is a book that you will thoroughly enjoy, especially if you are a mother.

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