Monday, December 16, 2013

Things We Set On Fire by Deborah Reed

From the best-selling author of Carry Yourself Back to Me comes another tightly plotted, emotionally complex novel about strangers who happen to be part of the same family.

A series of tragedies brings Vivvie’s young grandchildren into her custody, and her two estranged daughters back under one roof. Jackson, Vivvie’s husband, was shot and killed 30 years ago, and the ramifications have splintered the family into their own isolated remembrances and recriminations.

This deeply personal, hauntingly melancholy look at the damages families inflict on each other – and the healing that only they can provide – is filled with flinty, flawed and complex people stumbling towards some kind of peace. Like Elizabeth Strout and Kazuo Isiguro, Deborah Reed understands a story and its inhabitants reveal themselves in the subtleties: the space between the thoughts, the sigh behind the smile, and the unreliable lies people tell themselves that ultimately reveal the deepest truths.

Upon receiving this book I automatically read the back of the cover and was surprised to learn that Deborah Reed had been working and reworking on this novel for sixteen years; I was instantly amazed. As I started reading this story I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not, but after I read the first two chapters I really starting enjoying this story and couldn’t wait to finish the it to see what would happen in the end with the family as a whole and for each individual

While reading this story I could relate to how the family dealt with each other and their past; I was able to feel each person’s pain and uncertainty of what the future would hold. As I read about the main character “Vivvie” I was able to see my own grandmother in her spot and see what Vivvie saw and feel the same emotions she (Vivvie) felt. I think she was a very strong character in the book and I think a lot of older women would be able to really relate to her.

 I think older women and women with families going through similar issues would really like this book; I think it would be a wonderful read for anyone who loves this type of fiction. Even after I put the book down it is still somewhat hard for me to accept that this is a work of fiction and not a true story as well. I really enjoyed this book and I have already recommended this author and this novel to my grandmother. I give Deborah Reed and the novel an “A+.”

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Tiffany 

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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