Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns

The title hooked me and I was Facebooking about it before I even read the first sentence on the first page. It only got better from there, and disappointing at the same time.

Margaret Dilloway does an excellent job of portraying characters with uncanny real-to-life scenarios and attitudes to the point that the reader might wonder: "This is strangely my life...does it have a happy ending?" For Galilee Garner, hers is a difficult lonely life exaserbated with a chronic illness and the arrival of her niece, who brings an entirely new (difficult) dynamic to Garner's monotonous routine. Riley, a teenager in need of structure and substance, delivers coarse life to the pages of this novel and gives the reader an identifying factor. We might not all suffer from a kidney disease and an unsatiable thirst to breed roses, but at some point, we've encountered an obstinate teen. Riley is the character we can all most relate to.

There were moments in this story when I didn't like Garner - she was rude, brash and harsh to her best friends, she was unyielding, a stickler for following the rules, and consumed in her own misery that she failed to see the best in the people around her. Perhaps I didn't like her, because she mirrors some of my own worst attributes.

This story doesn't end happily and it doesn't end sadly. It just fades off with some questions answered and others left undone. I would've liked to have seen more resolution between the main characters, but it falls in line with Dilloway's seemingly overarching goal: to give the reader a slice of life, a snapshot of realism in a world that's real{ly} unfair and oftentimes doesn't end with the results we want.

You won't be given the fairytale ending in this tale.

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I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

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