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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Save me!

Anita Shreve
Little, Brown 2010

Peter Webster was a straight-as-an-arrow rookie paramedic when he pulled Sheila Arsenault from her totaled car that day. Little did he know that he would fall in love with the streetwise and tough-talking woman, despite her initial unwillingness to get involved with him. But he persevered, at first visiting her in the hospital and then taking her out at night, away from her depressing rental room. Soon Sheila and Peter were embroiled in an intense love affair, married, and parents to a baby daughter. Like the crash that brought them together, it all happened so fast.

Can you ever really save another person? Eighteen years later, Peter has given up on Sheila and is raising their daughter, Rowan, alone. But Rowan is doing some dangerous things, threatening her own future if not her life, and Peter fears for her future. His job all too easily illustrates how fleeting life can be, how wrong everything can go in a second. Not knowing what else to do, Peter seeks out Sheila, hoping that a mother, no matter how long ago she was one, could have an impact on her daughter’s life.

This was not my favorite Shreve novel. It lacked the depth of character and complex story lines that her previous books have, and even worse, was rather boring. None of the characters appealed to me. Peter was so much in love with Sheila, despite all the warning signs, that he reacted typically, forgiving her transgressions over and over until he finally couldn’t take it anymore. We never really got to know or understand Rowan very well, so it was hard to care very much about her problems. And we don’t meet up again with Sheila until the book is almost over, and it’s a little late to start caring about much of anything at that point. This one reads like Shreve didn't much care about it either.

The most interesting bit of the book was the ending, but I don’t want to give it away. Just suffice to say that a more mature Sheila is a more interesting Sheila. Perhaps Peter would do well to get to know her again.


Other novels by this author:
Eden Close (1989)
Strange Fits of Passion (1991)
Where or When (1993)
Resistance (1995)
The Weight of Water (1997)
The Pilot’s Wife (1998)
Fortune’s Rocks (1999)
The Last Time They Met (2001)
Sea Glass (2002)
All He Ever Wanted (2003)
Light on Snow (2004)
A Wedding in December (2005)
Body Surfing (2007)
Testimony (2008)
A Change in Altitude (2009)

Other books you may enjoy:

The World Below by Sue Miller (2001)
After being diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1919, a young woman is sent to a sanitarium, where she rediscovers the pleasures of unfettered youth and falls in love with a doomed man.

The Diary by Eileen Goudge (2009)
When the two grown daughters of Elizabeth Marshall discover an old diary of their mother's in her attic, it comes as a shock to learn that the true love of Elizabeth's life was not their father.

The Way We Were by Marcia Willett (2008)
Thirty years after Tiggy travels to her best friend's home on Bodmin Moor to mourn the loss of her partner and give birth to her child, Tiggy's son anticipates becoming a father and discovers long-buried family secrets.

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