Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Done: "Safe Within" by Jean Reynolds Page

Done: Safe Within by Jean Reynolds Page, 2012, 9780061876943.

Yes and no.  A Committee book and not something I would normally read.

Married couple move back to her family home as hospice care for him.  Their grown son returns for the dad's death.  The dad, Carson, has kept a tight relationship with his mother, Greta, even though the mother has completely rejected the wife, Elaine, and son, Mick, for the past 23 years.  

Carson dies and everyone grieves.  Greta is almost blind and lives with her best pal and maid, M(something).  M(something) has a stroke and goes to hospital.  Greta cannot stay by herself.  Elaine and Mick are Greta's only family.  Elaine decides she has to help Greta out.

The family feud is because uptight Greta never much liked Elaine and her dirty, hippie parents.  Elaine is best pals with the son of Greta's former best pal.  Elaine and Son of Former Best Pal are accused of shagging.  Elaine is pregnant and Greta presumes the child is Son of Former Best Pal. Son of Former Best Pal digs dudes.  Elaine and Mick keep the dude digging a secret since they live in rural and judgmental North Carolina.  Carson maintained a relationship with his mom.

Meanwhile, Mick is a shiftless 23-year-old with a mathematics B.S.  Mick pines for a dead ex-girlfriend.  Mick is hot for a living 18-year-old. Mick only met his grandmother when Mick was four-years-old and she wrenched Mick off her porch. Mick has mixed feelings.

Other characters move around and interact.  Elaine and Mick work on the Greta situation.  Greta realizes Mick is her grandson.  Greta's guilt is deep.  Greta cannot face up to the guilt and 23 years of missed opportunity.  Mick has a paternity scare.  Elaine's elderly neighbor gets hot for Greta.  Elaine gets a dog and gives the dog the horrible name of "Hobo". 

No final resolution but Greta is slowly changing, adapting, learning and accepting.

1.  I wanted more about Greta.  She has these good qualities of friendship and humor mixed with this horrible rejection of her grandson and daughter-in-law. 
2.  That the son and daughter-in-law would not explain the conditions of the marriage and boy's heritage is absurd behavior. 
3.  But, and this is important, this is not unbelievable.  People make poor decisions all the time and refuse to change because of pride and shame.  Families split over small events that turn into schisms.  Slights provide reason for splits.
4.  Something just reminded me of a diner we ate at in Milwaukee with Erin's parents a year or two ago after a museum trip.  It was near UW-Milwaukee and we sat in a corner booth.  Why did I recall that? 

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