Sunday, January 22, 2012
One of the most tragic fairy tales in modern fiction
Kathleen McKenna is a writer who grabs me with the first paragraph and won’t let me go until I’ve finished her tale. And this tale was, for me, very difficult to read.
A sad, tragic story of a young woman who is born into unbelievable riches, was “the apple of her father’s eye” in the same way his football team was: As long as she is presentable and didn’t embarrass the family name, she is lavished upon. When she became “an embarrassment”, she is cast aside like an old, worn-out toy by family and “friends”.
The first “embarrassment” is that she was born female, not the “promised” son that her father expected his wife to produce. The second “embarrassment” was her developing juvenile diabetes, for which she needs an insulin pump. Not only is she not male, she is “defective”, and treated that way. Instead of love, she is given every material thing she wants, no matter what the cost until they tire of her. And then they throw her away.
Is Caroline (“Carey”) Kelleher an appealing character? In a strange way, yes. She is so pathetically lonely, broken and needy, so abused by her know-nothing parents, favorite aunt and “best friends”, that you want to rescue her and give her the love she’s never had.
This is an outstanding new novel by one of my favorite authors. But it is not an easy one to read; no tragedy is. Buy it and read it anyway; it’s a good reminder that what people really want and need is genuine love, not the toys that all the money in the world can buy you. Like a former millionaire I once knew said: “It’s all just stuff" and it didn’t bring him happiness.
An unqualified 5 star read.