Tuesday, November 15, 2011
One Summer by David Baldacci.......
Baldacci's books are usually thrillers with plots usually related to politics. He's not one of those authors whose latest books I must, must, must read, but often I read one after Hubby has finished it.
This book was very different from Baldacci's usual style.
Jack Armstrong, a war veteran, is terminally ill with something that is never defined or explained in the book and is only referenced as something that Jack cannot spell or pronounce. (Read: The author made it up.) He is prepared to die but determined to last as long as Christmas. He writes one letter every day for what he assumes will be the last week of his life. On Christmas Eve his wife, who has forgotten to pick up some of Jack's medications from the pharmacy, dashes out into an ice storm and dies tragically in a car accident.
Jack's in-laws begin to make decisions as to what should be done with the three children, who are two, twelve, and almost sixteen. They determine that the only workable solution is to split the children up, sending them to live with various relatives, and put Jack in hospice.
Only Jack doesn't die. He suddenly begins to get better, breathing on his own and regaining his strength. He makes the backward trek from hospice to a sort of halfway house for the terminally ill, then sets about the task of recovering his family.
Jack's wife had a special place called "The Palace" on the coast of South Carolina as a child, and she has told Jack that she intends to take the children there the summer after Jack dies. Therefore Jack feels compelled to make the trip himself, especially after his wife's grandmother conveniently dies and leaves The Palace to Jack. He takes his children to South Carolina, and his best friend tags along.
The book had a very sweet story line and a pleasant ending, but it wasn't a satisfying read. I'm not one to predict a book's endings, and I can NEVER figure out whodunit, but I saw this one coming from the very beginning. I didn't think the characters were fully developed, particularly the teenaged daughter. She exhibited the extremes of teenage girl moodiness, but there was no middle ground. The two-year-old spoke baby talk, and the twelve-year-old forgot to talk at all.
It wasn't bad enough that I put it down in the middle, and I can honestly say it brought me to tears in a couple of places. I'm not a big fan of thrillers, but I'd rather read that genre by Baldacci than another one like this.