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What A Way To Treat A Daughter!
A Family Daughter - Maile Meloy
Member Name: brittle1906
A Family Daughter - Maile Meloy
Advantages: Well written book
Disadvantages: Content may be offensive to some readers
Review of A Family Daughter, a novel by Maile Meloy
I am reviewing the paperback edition of this novel, published by John Murray Publishers (London) Ltd. 325 pages, ISBN 9780719566479, cover price £7.99, genre :- Modern Fiction.
This book was purchased from Poundland so obviously, the price I paid was £1!
Set in America, the story begins in 1979. Abby is 7 years old, she is the youngest member of the Santerre family. She is trapped indoors during a summer heat wave as she has contracted chicken pox. Yvette and Teddy Santerre have three adult children, daughters Margot and Clarissa, and a son Jamie who is the youngest of the siblings. Clarissa is Abby's mother, Clarissa is a bit of a wild card, she is divorcing Abby's father Henry and lives a life of utter turmoil as she lurches from one crisis to another. She has sent Abby to her grandparents for the summer in order to return to Hawaii, which is the only place she says she has ever felt comfortable.
Abby is bored and ill, she is trying her grandparents patience and strength. In desperation, Yvette rings her son Jamie who is training to be a teacher and asks him to come home to help with the little girl. Jamie arrives and a special friendship springs up between uncle and niece.
The plot then continues towards Abby's adulthood. Her bond with her uncle Jamie goes from strength to strength until finally, when Abby is devastated by her father's death it is Jamie who manages to get through to her. The pair are emotionally very close and as a result, they become lovers. This is against all the rules and their actions have repercussions that alter the course of their lives.
As the plot heads towards it's startling finale, the pair find themselves involved in other relationships, yet are still drawn to each other. They find that they are rocking the very foundations of their upbringing and no amount of counselling can stop their mutual attraction. .
==My Thoughts and Conclusion==
This is a very strange novel. Of course, incest is a taboo subject and one that it not generally openly discussed in our society. I am not in the least bit prudish or moralistic, but I felt that this author rather 'over egged the pudding'. Had the pair come together just once, regretted their actions, had their counselling and then the story had continued, the novel would have been entertaining and believable. In my opinion, by continuing the incestuous intimate scenes, the novel descended beyond the bounds of good taste. What was basically a family saga of several generations of relatives struggling to come to terms with various dramas, turned into an off putting and slightly stomach churning novel.
The actual construction of the novel was fairly good, although I felt the dialogue was a little 'patchy' in places. The characterisation was reasonably good, the lead character of Abby was well drawn and her fragile mental state was extremely well described. I did not particularly like any of the characters and to be quite honest was bored by some of them, particularly the weak and self centred, Clarissa.
I did not really enjoy this novel, I had not read anything else by the author and after reading 'A Family Daughter', frankly, I would not go out of my way to seek out further Maile Meloy novels. Admittedly this was an impulse buy and having no idea of the author's style, it was a chance as to whether I would enjoy the book. The blurb on the back of the novel did not give a clue regarding the incestuous content or the gratuitous sex scenes, in all fairness, I may still have bought the book even if it had have done so, as I do read a wide range of subjects!
To conclude, I did not like this book and I would not recommend it. I am awarding it a 2* rating, based on the authors skills as a writer, rather than the entertainment value of the novel.
Thank you for reading
İbrittle1906 June 2012
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.
Summary: Not a novel for me