Author: Liz Rosenberg
Paperback: 352 pages
Challenges: ARC Challenge
But it was more than facing the clutter and the mess, this grip of cold gloom that surrounded her. She had never been prone to depression, not even after Ivan died, but what she suffered now felt like a disease of the soul. She wandered aimlessly around the house. The flowers in their clay pots out on the front porch were long dead and withered. A few brown leaves stuck out from the stems. She seemed to be staring at the demise of everything. Everything she’d already lost, all the losses still to come. It all headed toward grief in the end. Humans were soap bubbles, clinging to any solid surface. They rested briefly, then were gone. Her mother would be gone soon, and not long after, it would be herself, and one day even her own children…
A chill stabbed her heart. Why on earth bother? Why clean, take out the trash, make the beds. Why not let it all alone to rot?
– Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg, pages 183-184 (ARE)
I’d first like to thank Jennifer, aka Book Club Girl, for the opportunity to read Home Repair and participate in a discussion with Liz Rosenberg, the book’s author. You can listen to her July 8th broadcast on Blog Talk Radio with the author by clicking here. It was my first time participating in a live discussion with an author, and was an interesting experience. It would definitely be more interesting to have the author’s voice at a book club discussion more often.
One of the things that sticks out most for me with Home Repair is that it truly has a feeling of authenticity. Often in books, when the tragic or fantastic occurs, it feels contrived or manufactured, a vehicle for the author to get the characters from one point to another, or to teach a lesson. However, with this book, the events feel natural. When Eve and her seventeen-year-old son, Marcus, get into a fight about him going for a ride in his friend’s new sports car, it had a very familiar feeling to me, a mother of two teens of my own. The events that followed the argument also felt familiar and made me think back to something that had happened within my own family. Another aspect of Home Repair that I kept thinking of while reading it was that the characters were very real to me. At times I could see my own mother in Charlotte, Eve’s mom, with Eve playing my part, at other times Mrs. Dunrea could’ve been me. Also, Rosenberg has set Home Repair in her home town of Bignhamton, New York, adding even more realism to the book.
Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg begins on a bright, sunny and unseasonably mild day as Eve holds a garage sale to clear out some of the clutter in her family of four’s life. As the day progresses, she becomes aware that her husband, Chuck, has taken the opportunity to clear out for good. Eve is left with the task of explaining to her two children, Marcus and Noni, that he’s left them, and to somehow manage to dig down within herself and soldier on. The book takes us on a year journey as Eve rediscovers who she is, develops friendships and connections with new and different people, and deepens her relationships with those she already knows. When her mother moves up from Tennessee to “help,” Eve is faced with her mother’s own eventual mortality and humanness, as she struggles in the in-between land of mother caring for her own children while being a child caring for her mother. Home Repair is the story of healing, family and friendship that will stay with you and gives hope that “This too shall pass.”
“Why does anyone get married? Why do middle-aged men leave their wives, or women abandon their families and run off to Tahiti? Why does anyone bother to become friends with anyone, or adopt a child, or own a pet, for that matter? We’re all going to die sooner or later, if that’s what you’re thinking,” Charlotte said. “That’s life. Nothing we do can change that. We’re all going to someday say good-bye. We’re all going to have to cry, little girl,” she said, putting one hand out to touch Eve’s hair. The touch did not quite happen, but hovered, and then settled back down, like a butterfly, still quivering. “We might as well be happy while we can.”
–Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg, page 324 (ARE)
Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg is a comfort, homey read that reminds us that we’re not alone and gives us hope. It tells us that we’re stronger than we think and love is the best home repair. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Filed under: ARC Challenge, Book Reviews | Tagged: aging, aging parent, American Fiction, Binghamton, car accident, caregiving, Charlotte Dunrea, Christian, community, crime, death, divorce, empty nest, Eve, family drama, fiction, grief, hero, interfaith, interracial, Jewish, Lev, Liz Rosenberg, loss, Marcus, mothers, mothers and daughters, New York, Noni, parenting, pets, romance, secretary, self-discovery, seperation, single parent, Tracy, Van Gogh, widow, women | 12 Comments »