Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Belong to Me - Book Review

Cornelia Brown has just moved to the suburbs and been instantly snubbed by her neighbor Piper. Piper is the Queen Bee of the neighborhood. She's judgmental, sharp and apparently has it all together. Immediately at odds, Cornelia has found a nemesis before she's made a friend. But after a chance encounter with Lake at the grocery store, Cornelia is sure she's found the perfect friend. She and Lake have a lot in common and hit it off but she's not fully comfortable when it becomes clear that Lake isn't being fully honest with her.

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos is a novel about interactions and relationships. Full of flawed characters who make mistakes and keep secrets and serve a friend and comfort each other. The characters are so real that they could be people in your own neighborhood.

I was drawn to the author's style. Cornelia's tangential and self-aware voice is refreshing. She's witty and doesn't take herself too seriously. Just when you think she's impervious, she becomes entirely human and collapsible. I greatly admired her character and wished I could have been more like her when I had my own meeting with a woman I hoped would be a friend and definitely wasn't.

The story is told from the perspective of Cornelia, her nemesis Piper and Lake's thirteen year old son Dev. I instantly liked Cornelia (I am familiar with her from de los Santos's novel Love Walked In). Piper is a character that I had to grow to love but I was constantly amused by her. Piper becomes a fully fleshed-out human being. She feels real to me--imperfect, judgmental and at the same time selfless and loving.

Overall, I adored this novel. I felt empathy for the characters. There is a revelation in the novel that initially worried me that the entire book would be ruined but it came together and after rereading some earlier sections, I appreciated how the situation was handled.

There is a lot of swearing in the novel which definitely turned off several members of the book club.

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos was published by William Morrow in 2008. Copies of the book were provided to our book club through the Book Club Girl Blog.

No comments: