Saturday, April 24, 2010

37. The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang

Here's a book that been sitting on the shelf for quite some time.  I love the picture of the little boy picking up leaves on the cover.  So cute. 

Talie is a young happily married mother of a one-year-old son.  He life seems perfect.  She is excited to find a journal of her great-great-great-great grandmother among some of her father's effects.  However, reading the journal begins to make her take a look at her son's slow development and she struggles with trying to hide the truth from herself and her family.  The author effectively weaves the two tales of Cosima in The English 1800's and Talie's modern life in Chicago.  The transitions were smooth and, once I got used to the liberal references to God, Christ and faith, it was an engrossing tale.  And I don't know how families deal with the kind of problems these two faced without that kind of faith.  The book is the author's way of telling about her own experiences with Fragile X Syndrome which affects her young son.  And it was very informative and moving.  The romance involved in Cosima's story was well-done if a little implausible, high praise coming from someone who steers away from romances.  Mostly it was a good book dealing with a heart-wrenching story of learning to deal with life's disappointments and how love gets you through it.  One thing I wondered while reading the book was why the author never suggest adoption as a possible avenue for families who know they carry the Fragile X gene.  I thought that could have been explored as a way of creating more hope.  Overall, I would have preferred a little less doctrine, but I liked the characters, especially Cosima and Beryl from the 1800's; and I enjoyed the story. 
Rating:  4

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