Rescue by Anita Shreve
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Do you like watching soap operas and reading Jodie Picoult? If so, I have no doubt that you would greatly enjoy “Rescue” by Anita Shreve. Another comparable author would be Jude Deveraux or Nicholas Sparks.
“Rescue” opens with single father Webster observing his seventeen-year-old daughter Rowan and pondering on where time has gone. He notes that she is no longer communicative as she once was, something he chalks up to teen angst. Even though he tries to bridge the gap between them, it seems impossible with her constantly pulling away and retreating into herself.
Then the story takes us back to Webster meeting Rowan’s mother Sheila and their together before the incident that drives Sheila away from the family for several years. As Webster works long hours as a paramedic, Sheila attempts to cope with Rowan as a newly born. As a young mother who is still working through issues on her own, she sadly begins to struggle with alcoholism and seems unwilling to get any help. When she inevitably puts Rowan’s young life in jeopardy, Webster forces her to move away and leave him as Rowan’s primary care giver.
The novel seems to spend most of it’s time in the past, examining the relationship between Sheila and Webster, telling us the story of love, marriage and parenthood gone terribly awry. Then it switches back to present day and Webster comes from work one day to find Rowan passed out drunk on the living room couch, vomit on the floor.
Unsure of what to do and fearful for Rowan’s future, he decides to seek out Sheila, who has been gone for fifteen years, for help with Rowan.
Sounds like a promising story, right?
Sadly, the novel was far too trite and the characters too produced to be an enjoyable read.
As I stated, Shreve spends far too much time explaining the past and barely any time dealing with the relationship between Rowan and her mother when they inevitably meet. What could have been a great story of relationship and discovery turned into a predictable mess.
I forced myself to finish reading this book but I would not recommend it to anyone else unless, as I said earlier, they enjoy this particular genre of novels. Personally, I found it far too trite and boring to stomach.
2 out of 4 stars.
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