29 January 2009

Home Song by LaVyrle Spencer

Flap Copy from Cover:
High school principal Tom Gardner feels a sense of shock when he sees Kent Arens, a new transfer student. With one glance, Tom can see that this teenager is the son he never knew he had - the result of a one-night stand on the eve of his wedding years before, now grown into an intelligent, athletic and polite young man. But the boy's presence has a devastating effect on Tom's family. To his wife, Kent is the symbol of a wrenchin betrayal she cannot forgive. To their daughter, he is the boy she begins to love - until she learns the truth. And to their son, he is a rival - and the force driving his parents apart. As the Gardners careen toward disaster, they test the foundation of trust and respect that their family was built on - and learn that love leaves no choice but forgiveness ...

This book reads like a bad made-for-tv movie and was a complete waste of time. Spencer's grammatically shaky, over-emotional and adjective-laden prose made the book a pain to navigate and nearly impossible to enjoy, while her complete inability to draw a realistic human character forced the story into cliche after cliche. Her teenagers were wooden, drenched with sickly sweet kindness and school spirit and completely lacking any normal adolescent characteristics; her adults were erratic, frenzied and drawn without an ounce of realism.

I picked up this book at a used book sale and thought the story might have some interesting twists - there were none. I thought the plight of the characters, especially the principal's wife Claire, might resonate in some way - it did not. I suppose if nothing else, Home Song did evoke strong feelings in me as a reader: I was so angry with each of the characters and so bored by the non-existent plot that I couldn't wait to finish the book, review it and shelve it on the 'never to be touched again' pile.

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