If you have not started reading Christina Baker Kline's books, you need to. She's easily in my top ten of favorite authors and her books are just so enjoyable. That and if you are looking for some early Christmas shopping for friends who love a good chick lit novel that doesn't make you puke or irrationally anger (looking at your books, Jodi Picoult), this is a GREAT alternative. Actually, any of her books are.
Bird in Hand - Christina Baker Kline
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train comes a novel about the choices we make, how they shape our lives, and how they can change them forever.Four people, two marriages, one lifelong friendship: Everything is about to change.It was dark. It was raining. It was just an accident. On the drive home from a rare evening out, Alison collides with another car running a stop sign, and--just like that--her life turns upside down. When she calls her husband from the police station, his accusatory tone reveals cracks in their relationship she'd never noticed were there. Now she notices everything. And she begins to realize that the life she carefully constructed for herself is as tenuous as a house of cards. Exquisitely written, powerful, and thrilling, Bird in Hand is a novel about love and friendship and betrayal, and about the secrets we tell ourselves and each other.
I love her characters. One thing about Christina is she can craft a really great set of characters, all flawed and some that drive you mad, but what they all have in common is that they feel real. They feel like people you may know in your own life as it is and the drama we read about in any of her books are things that could play out in real life. So I appreciate these stories so much because they almost feel like you are reading some kind of sordid gossip about the neighbors, but it could also be your story and who doesn't love that?
Ultimately, this feels like a story about a marriage running off the rails long before and it takes a horrific accident (the loss of a child) to bring it to light. Both people probably know it's not what it used to be, but like the rest of us, we get busy in the day to day and just make mediocre work. When Alison hits a child, after drinking a little too much, and that child is killed- it throws her marriage off the edge. She doesn't get support or comfort from her husband, instead she gets the cold shoulder and it's like he doesn't even care her fate at all. So that's how this story starts.
But then we bring in Claire (who I hate, hate, hate and I can't think of one positive thing to say about her at all), and it turns out she's actually really the main character? I'll be honest, that was kind of confusing for me because I had settled in thinking I was going to be reading about Alison and her crap life but then we shift focus to Claire and how despite loving her husband Ben, she's really attracted to Alison's husband Charlie. And I don't think I have to tell you how that will all end, but it's not pretty and Claire becomes one of those women we see on shows like Dr. Phil who are total home wreckers and play the "it's not my fault I'm so great and attractive" card and you can't find any sympathy for. And you can't by sympathetic to Claire at all, that's just the kind of awful person she is. But what gets me is that while I'm reading the meat of the story, I realize Charlie is just like Claire and I want Alison and Ben to grow some damn balls and stick up for themselves. Then I think- people like Claire and Charlie probably specifically pick the personality types like Alison and Ben as "partners" because it's so easy to do what they want and they know they'll never get resistance, but they get the perks of marriage, but who even knows what that is with these people.
In the end, I loved it. I just love how the author crafts her stories, I love the writing, I love the characters because you get enough to make the story, but leaves enough room for you to fill in the gaps with how you feel they should be- that makes it feel like you turn this into people you know almost. It's always a treat to pull out one of her books because I know I'm in for a great night curled up on the couch with my favorite blanket.
If you want to learn more about the author and get a list of all of her titles, definitely check out her website. If you want to see what other blog book reviewers are saying about the book, head over to TLC's book page and click on any of the links.