August 7, 2007

The Rest of Her Life

The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty
Contemporary Fiction
Finished on 7/30/07
Rating: 2/5 (Below Average)

From the Publisher

In The Rest of Her Life, Laura Moriarty delivers a luminous, compassionate, and provocative look at how mothers and daughters with the best intentions can be blind to the harm they do to one another.

Leigh is the mother of high-achieving, popular high school senior Kara. Their relationship is already strained for reasons Leigh does not fully understand when, in a moment of carelessness, Kara makes a mistake that ends in tragedy -- the effects of which not only divide Leigh's family, but polarize the entire community. We see the story from Leigh's perspective, as she grapples with the hard reality of what her daughter has done and the devastating consequences her actions have on the family of another teenage girl in town, all while struggling to protect Kara in the face of rising public outcry.

Like the best works of Jane Hamilton, Jodi Picoult, and Alice Sebold, Laura Moriarty's The Rest of Her Life is a novel of complex moral dilemma, filled with nuanced characters and a page-turning plot that makes readers ask themselves, "What would I do?"

I'm not sure I would've picked up this ARC at work, had I not enjoyed Moriarty's debut novel, The Center of Everything, so well. The subject matter isn't exactly light and breezy summer fare, and Leigh (with whom I found little sympathy) is annoyingly self-absorbed and insecure. Moriarty holds the reader at a distance as none of her characters are fully fleshed out. I stopped and started this book several times, hoping it would improve, and while I managed to finish, it's not one I'd recommend.


  1. Well,shoot, I was looking forward to this one. I even have it pre-ordered! I may think twice.

  2. I've thought about posting on this thought . . . don't you think "luminous" is one of the most overused descriptive terms, when it comes to books?

    BTW, I haven't gotten to her first book but yours is the second negative review I've read of this title. Sounds like a skipster.

  3. That is too bad. I really liked "The Center of Everything" too.

  4. Well, I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this one, but pleased to know her prior novel was a goodie, as I recently bought it for a buck!

  5. Beachreader - I think her other is worth reading. I should dig my notes out and include a little review for it. Nah. Too many other things to do. :)

    Bookfool - Yes! Luminous has become quite the buzz word amongst reviews, hasn't it? And, yes again. Definitely a skipster. Which is too bad since she'll be here in Lincoln (she's a Midwesterner) next month.

    Kookiejar - Maybe her third will be better. One can only hope, eh?

    Lesley - Such a deal! I'll look forward to you reveiw. :)

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The info on this book sounded really good and I thought I might like it. Hmmm...I'll have to think about it and since there are about a million other books that I would like to read, probably not this one. I'm loving "A Thousand Splended Suns" right now.

  7. Kay - If you haven't read The Center of Everything, I'd go with that and skip this one. Glad to hear you're enjoying A Thousand Splendid Suns!

  8. Oh Lord! If I see the word "luminous" in one more description of a book, I may scream. It's almost enough to make me not want to read the book -- ever. This one sounded vaguely interesting -- now, I don't think I'll read it.

  9. Katya - You and Bookfool seem to be on the same page with regard to "luminous". ;)

    Yah, the book sounded interesting to me, too, but it missed the mark. And "luminous" never entered my mind once!


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