From the cover :
Friendswood, Texas, is a small Gulf Coast town of church suppers, oil rigs on the horizon, hurricane weather, and high school football games. When tragedy rears its head with an industrial leak that kills and sickens residents, it pulls on the common thread that runs through the community, intensifying everything. From a confused fifteen-year-old girl beset by visions, to a high school football star tormented by his actions, to a mother galvanized by the death of her teen daughter, to a morally bankrupt father trying to survive his mistakes, René Steinke explores what happens when families are trapped in the ambiguity of history’s missteps—when the actions of a few change the lives and well-being of many.
My thoughts :
In Friendswood, debut author René Steinke tells the story of the people that live in the town. It’s familiar to those from small towns. The people are connected. They have histories with one another that bind and divide. But like people anywhere, they have complicated pasts, heartaches and dreams. They have suffered. They have passions and are passionate about their causes. They hide. They choose the easy path. They choose to take risks. They just try to survive.
Friendswood is a morality play with complicated leading actors. While exposing their weaknesses and failings, Steinke also shows them in the sympathetic light to her readers. People are more than their choices and yet our choices often define us. Will we be brave? Will we be cowardly? How will we justify our choices?
Causing the reader to ponder and reflect, Steinke weaves a story with powerful themes and harrowing outcomes. As a mother of children who are growing up and too quickly becoming teenagers, the plot line surrounding the high school students was disturbing and caused me to think about my own possible reactions and the way I will educate both my sons and daughters.
Friendswood is a definitely page turner from a talented new author. It’s rich and complex; exquisite and controlled—a model of brilliant literary fiction.
Friendswood by René Steinke is published by Riverhead Books and released on August 14, 2014.
**I received a complimentary copy of Friendswood. No compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**