Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book Review: The Lace Reader

The Lace Reader
By Brunonia Barry
385 pages

Oh, Brunonia, you have a strange, strange name and perhaps an even stranger story. But I like it. I picked up this book because it was the chosen one for this month at the township library book club (which I've been wanting to join last month, but I completely missed the meeting in April). I made it this month though! And what a fine group of ladies...I'll come back to them...let's talk about the book first.

The first lines of the book draws you right into the story:

My name is Towner Whitney. No, that's not exactly true. My real first name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time.

This opening paragraph ends up being SO important to the story because by the end, most of it is a lie. Towner grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, where her Aunt Eva lived, and just off the coast of Salem on Yellow Dog Island, where her mother May and Aunt Emma lived and worked a shelter for battered women and children. All the Whitney women were Seers, or psychics who could read the future in a piece of lace. She spent her life going between the her Aunt Eva's place in Salem and Yellow Dog Island, but when her twin sister committed suicide and her Aunt Emma's husband, Cal, beat Emma so badly that she ended up brain damaged, Towner ended up in the psychiatric hospital and opted to undergo shock therapy. Once released, she opted to get as far away from Salem as she could and headed off to California. She then returned to Salem when she found out that her Aunt Eva was missing. Towner was forced to remember the past and see the future once again, which she had been trying so hard not to do.

The ending of this book hits you like a ton of bricks. I never saw it coming!! Of course, looking back, I realize that there were little clues all the way through the book. This would be a good one to reread knowing the ending because you could pick up on all the little pieces that you missed the first time around.

This was a really fun book for a book club. Everyone had different opinions about it and being able to discuss everything that happened in this book in particular helped to piece it all together. I walked into book club really liking this book, and I walked out liking it even more because everything that didn't make sense before, suddenly made a lot more sense. Everyone seemed to pick up different tidbits of info from throughout the story and it really made everything come together nicely. I'm definitely going to be going to this book club next month and not just because there are cookies (really good cookies at that) but because it was really fun, and the next book is Persepolis, which is a graphic novel and I've been wanting to try out reading a graphic novel for a while now.

So The Lace Reader gets an 8.5 out of 10 from me. It was exciting, thought provoking, and had a lot of twists and turns that really had me guessing.


  1. I am glad to hear you think it would make a good book club book. My club is picking new books next month and this is a book we have discussed reading in the past. Thanks for the review.

  2. Lace Reader looks really good...can't wait to read it.

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