Red Hook Road Ayelet Waldman
Published by Doubleday
At the request of Doubleday, a HC was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
Synopsis (borrowed by book’s jacket): Becca Copaken and John Tetherly are young and in love, and the future looks as bright as the day of their marriage. Becca’s family is well-to-do and summers in Red Hook, Maine, where John’s mother, Jane, runs a housecleaning service for clients like the Copakens. The only thing that binds the two families is the love the elated couple share but it’s enough to bring them together for the occasion.
Until the unthinkable happens: Becca and John’s limousine collides with another vehicle mere minutes after the wedding, killing them instantly. Joy gives way to grief, and the rifts between Becca’s mother, Iris and Jane grow, from the funeral arrangements to Iris’s strong.-willed interest in the musical career of Jane’s niece to a new romance that buds between the surviving children, Ruthie and Matt. Time’s healing powers prove elusive for Iris and Jane: Iris’ thirty-year marriage disintegrates, while Jane’s bitterness threatens to ruin her relationship with Matt. Only when a powerful, blinding storm hits Red Hook do the families begin to see what really matters most.
My Thoughts and Opinion: Days before reading this book, we had attended a wedding, that was a beautiful and fun celebration, so parts of the story were easy to relate to. Thankfully there was a different outcome in the real life wedding. I was able to feel the emotions and gaiety of Becca and John’s wedding day through the author’s written words. And then the shock, disbelief, and despair when the news is announced to the family and friends, that are waiting for the newlyweds at the reception. From that point on, my thoughts of the book fluctuated. There was a lot of genealogy of the families’, which I felt was important to understand the dynamics of the characters involved. But at times, and this is my opinion only, there was too much information that it became boring and took away from the story. The novel was a serious,somber and depressing read but at the same time the families’ dynamics were so profound that I needed to continue reading. Not only were there difference in classes, as described in the synopsis, but also religions and beliefs of the families’ that also divided them. Ms. Waldman’s writing style and descriptive wording allowed me to feel the emotions that each character was feeling and how they dealt with their very individual way of grieving and how that grief affected their lives. This is not the type of book if you are looking for a fast paced or uplifting read, but a book to be read if you want a thought provoking and the need to understand family dynamics and individual differences. Filled with many life’s metaphors.