Sunday, July 17, 2011

Shem Creek- Review

Title: Shem Creek
Author: Dorothea Benton Frank
Publisher:  Berkley

Goodreads Summary:

Meet Linda Breland, single parent of two teenage daughters. The oldest, Lindsey, who always held her younger sister in check, is leaving for college. And Gracie, her Tasmanian devil, is giving her nightmares. Linda's personal life? Well, between the married men, the cold New Jersey winters, her pinched wallet and her ex-husband who marries a beautiful, successful woman ten years younger than she is - let's just say, Linda has seen enough to fill a thousand pages.

As the story opens, she is barreling down Interstate 95, bound for Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, the land of her ancestors. Welcomed by the generous heart of her advice-dispensing sister, Mimi, Linda and her daughters slowly begin to find their way and discover a sweeter rhythm of life.

And then there's Brad Jackson, a former investment banker of Atlanta, Georgia who hires her to run his restaurant on Shem Creek. Like everyone else, Brad's got a story of his own - namely an almost ex-wife, Loretta who is the kind of gal who gives women a bad name. 

The real protagonist of this story is the Lowcountry itself. The magical waters of Shem Creek, the abundant wildlife and the astounding power of nature give this tiny corner of the planet its infallible reputation as a place for introspection, contemplation and healing. 

My thoughts:

I give this a book a meh, it was ok, hand wave.  The parts I loved:  the description of the area, the creek itself, the beach, the lifestyle the characters led, the cute boathouse on the water they lived in. I fell more in love with the idea of this book, I think, than the actual book itself.  What I didn't like:  The crazy sudden relationship at the end between Linda and Brad- throughout most of the book you maybe got the sense that Linda was starting to develop a crush on Brad, but you didn't get the feeling that he reciprocated.  I also was put off by the lack of concern for the environment in this book- the book is set in such a gorgeous area of the United States, the author makes a point to mention that it is being destroyed, but the only character who really cares about it is an extremist maniac.  It was interesting, I guess, to see this issue from the other side, from a business who is contributing to the demise of the creek by trying to make a living, not realizing that what they are doing is causing the creek to essentially become a dead creek.  I didn't like that the characters learned this, and didn't seem to care. I think at one point, Linda's character actually says something like "like who cares, right?" when referring to the environmental problems.  Only after the restaurant is burned down by the extremist character, do they make concessions - they move the newly built restaurant back further from the creek, add appropriate drainage, and make brochures.  But it just seemed really throw away to me.  What I could overlook:  the quick turnaround in behavior from the youngest daughter, and the ease in which Linda rebuilds a brand new life.

I think this book was just ok- I liked the other Frank book I read better. I will probably read her again, however, since I have read one good, one marginal.  This book is a great vacation book, but not really much more than that.

1 comment:

  1. I think the environmental aspect would bother me as well. Hopefully the next book of this author's that you choose will be better!


I love hearing from people, don't be shy! I would love to hear what you think! I always reply back, although it takes me a bit longer these days due to the little guy.