Saturday, January 14, 2017

Our Short History by Lauren Grodstein

I found this to be a powerful story of a single mother struggling to to right, to raise her young child, and to build memories for him as her own death from ovarian cancer draws nearer.  The characters rang true for me, and Grodstein made it easy for the reader to glimpse the struggles of Karen, as she struggles to find the right path to point her son, when she's gone, and to provide him with support and memories he can take on his own life journey when his mother is no longer there. I normally steer clear of politics, but Karen's job as a consultant was fascinating. The elements of her work that were wound into the story really were fascinating, and illuminating about the business of politics. However, the true strength of this book was the business of parenting and of creating a family.

Thank you to LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program and to the fine folks at Algonquin (who have yet to disappoint me in any book I've read that they've published) for sending this copy of the book to me.

From the Publisher: Karen Neulander, a successful New York political consultant, has always been fiercely protective of her son, Jacob, now six. She’s had to be: when Jacob’s father, Dave, found out Karen was pregnant and made it clear that fatherhood wasn’t in his plans, Karen walked out of the relationship, never telling Dave her intention was to raise their child alone.

But now Jake is asking to meet his dad, and with good reason: Karen is dying. When she finally calls her ex, she’s shocked to find Dave ecstatic about the son he never knew he had. First, he can’t meet Jake fast enough, and then, he can’t seem to leave him alone.

With just a few more months to live, Karen resists allowing Dave to insinuate himself into Jake’s life. As she tries to play out her last days in the “right” way, Karen wrestles with the truth that the only thing she cannot bring herself to do for her son--let his father become a permanent part of his life--is the thing he needs from her the most. With heart-wrenching poignancy, unexpected wit, and mordant humor, Lauren Grodstein has created an unforgettable story about parenthood, sacrifice, and life itself.

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