Everyone is in love with this book, but I can only work up a mild flirtation. There were some sparkling parts, and as I dove in I was sure that I would excitedly gobble it up in one sitting. Instead, it lurched across the entire afternoon, more of a plowing through than a nibbling delightedly.
Most interesting were the characters of Mia, the artist-mom who comes into town with her teenage daughter Pearl in tow, and Izzy – the daughter of the rich family that Pearl falls in love with and who Mia starts to clean/cook for. Izzy sets her own parents’ house on fire and runs away, a scene that lingers through the rest of the smoke-tinged air of the rest of the book. There are subplots aplenty—Pearl becomes instant besties with Moody, the 2nd son of the rich family, but starts boning Trip, the oldest son. Lexi is the oldest daughter, a spoiled popular brat but not too unlikeable. Izzy’s the youngest, the most hated sibling. The mother is a frustrated journalist who gave up her career to raise this family.
Another plot is the abandoned Asian baby—dropped at a firehouse—adopted by rich friends of the main family, but the mother (who works with Mia at a Chinese restaurant) decides she wants her baby back. Her court case fails so she steals it. Blargh, none of this book is memorable nor will stay in the mind for more than a few seasons before sinking into obscurity.
I guess one good thing from the book was getting tipped off to Phillip Larkin’s poem, This Be The Verse. “Man hands on misery to man./It deepens like a coastal shelf./Get out as early as you can,/And don’t have any kids yourself.”