Book Review: The Middle Sister: A Novel
Publication Date: May 31, 2005
List Price: $12.95
Format: Paperback, 192 pages
Imprint: One World/Ballantine
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann
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Book Reviewed by Thumper
I'm still finding my footing. Being away from reading books
for three years, obtaining another degree, has dulled my reading
senses. Now that the fire in my belly for books is growing
larger and hotter, I decided to play a little catch up, read the
books that I did not read while in pursuit of higher education
again. Boy, did I strike gold when I picked up The Middle Sister
by Bonnie J. Glover. I became familiar with Glover when I read
her current novel,
Going Down South. Going Down South is a simply MARVELOUS
novel! Pick it up and read it, if you haven't already.
I was cleaning my dusty, neglected ’library’ (I use the term loosely, what else do you call a pile of books covered in dust?) and came across a copy of Glover's The Middle Sister. I wiped the dust off of it, put it in my ever growing ’to be read’ pile. I am damn lucky I did. The Middle Sister is AWESOME! My Lord, how I am in love with this book! The small novel centers on a family of sisters dealing with a mentally unstable mother and an absentee father in 70's New York City. The Middle Sister is small in size, but damn, it packs an emotional wallop. I love it, love it, and love it!
The novel revolves around Pam, the middle sister, who also serves as the narrator, and her sisters Theresa--the eldest sister, and Nona--the youngest one. The sisters hold on to each other as their home is slowly destroyed. After enduring years of physical, mental and emotional abuse, their mother tells their father to leave after he nails a rug to the living room floor. The sisters watch as their mother slides into mental instability as they wrestle to come to grips with the truth about their father, and their issues of abandonment. As Pam's world is turned upside down by their father's disappearance, she forms an invisible friendship with Kwai Chang from the Kung Fu TV show. With Kwai Chang coming and going, Pam and her sisters mature and each take different life paths while clinging to the bonds of family.
The Middle Sister is one helluva book. The novel comes in at 176 pages. It is a small novel, ah but it is a powerful one. Glover compiled the novel with small snapshots saturated with bits of information that developed the characters, invoked emotions and moved the story along at the same time. Yet, each word, phrase, punctuation mark is used selfishly and poignantly. Pam, her sisters, her mother are all solidly created characters. Pam's story telling is as smooth and soothing as a lazy boat ride where one can feel the quiet flow and ebb of the peaceful water. The narration is pitch-perfect for the humor, violence, laughter and horror of the story. Mostly, The Middle Sister is a book about life, every day living; the tragedies, the unexpected joys and the strength to carry on anyway.
I loved it. I know I already told it but I felt like saying it again. I was hooked. Before I knew it Glover had slipped in and grabbed my attention. I was so absorbed in the novel that my attraction was on the same par as the loneliest person in the world dreaming the sticky-est most sensual dream imaginable. I don't believe that I have laughed and cried so hard reading a book in an awfully long time. It took me a day to finish the book. I lost a couple hours of sleep but it was well worth it! I am sorry I missed The Middle Sister the first time around. I am so damn happy; I got it when I did.
Review of Bonnie J. Glover's novel Going