Acquired via BookCrossing 29 Aug 2009 (book swap game at Rugby)

Read this out of order (shock!) because I want to release it in the LUCIA challenge this month.

An OK read.  It’s one of those "issue" novels of course (man disposes of one twin; wife doesn’t know her child is growing up with another woman; secrets will out – all of this on the back of the book) and as such much of the effort seems designed to fit the theme in and cover every aspect.  Some of the stuff about Norah’s life as representative of American Woman from the 60s to the 90s seems to just use her as an example rather than a flesh and blood character with a life of her own (dissatisfied housewife – check; takes up drinking – check; gets job – check; gets powerful career in the 80s – check) and while the descriptions of the struggles for education and other opportunities for Down’s Syndrome people are worthwhile and valid, sometimes it seems a bit like the author is trying to fit in all her research and again misses the more individual aspects.

I am, as is my wont, over-criticising a perfectly decent novel that I enjoyed to a large extent, and lots of people have enjoyed to a greater extent.  It’s good book group stuff and does cover its subject with decency and perfectly adequate writing.  I couldn’t help but think what the same plot would  be like if covered by a Jane Smiley or an Anne Tyler – but that’s my problem, not the book’s.