15 April 2011

Wrecker by Summer Wood

Flap Copy from ARC: "It's June 1965 when Wrecker enters the world. The war is waging in Vietnam, San Francisco is tripping toward flower power, and Lisa Fay, Wrecker's birth mother, is knocked nearly sideways by life as a single parent in a city she can barely manage to navigate on her own. Three years later, she's in prison, and Wrecker is left to bounce around in the system before he's shipped off to live with distant relatives in the wilds of Humboldt County, California. When he arrives he's scared and angry, ready to explode at the least thing, and quick to flee. 'Wrecker' is the story of this boy and the motley group of isolated eccentrics who come together to raise him, and become a family along the way."

Summer Wood's novel tells the story of Wrecker, a destructive 3-year old who ends up in the custody of his uncle after his mother goes to prison. When Uncle Len realizes he can't care for a child on his own, he turns to his neighbors - a motley group of women who've escaped their own lives and heartaches and started fresh at Bow Farm. The plot follows Wrecker as he grows, but this book is about much more than one boy's journey into adulthood - Wood captures the essence of family in the most unconventional of packages, and really brings home the notion that love comes in all shapes, sizes and demonstrative forms.

Some other reviewers felt removed from the characters and found it hard to relate to their problems - I disagree, I think Wood's characters are well-developed. By the end of the novel, I felt that I knew each backstory, knew their problems and their joys.

I think 'Wrecker' is a great portrait of family life, and the myriad ways that people change their lives for and because of the other people in their lives. Once I started reading, I was reluctant to put the book down. I give it 4 stars!

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