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Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ailment compounded by wealth and privilege, 5 Oct. 2009
This review is from: In a Country of Mothers (Vintage Contemporaries (Paperback)) (Paperback)
Jody is a bright, articulate, talented young film-maker and as the novel opens she is working for a film producer helping a much revered but rather repulsive director on his latest opus. She wants to be a director herself and has signed up for film school at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She was adopted and her relationship with her adoptee mother is very needy. She is, in common with many middle class Americans, in therapy - with a new therapist, Claire. Claire is married with two children and is obsessed by the daughter she put up for adoption when she was a teenager. The book centres on Jody and Claire's relationship which gradually becomes more and more combative, not to say sinister.

This novel made me wonder what it is that American women really want from their lives. The two women in the novel have versions of what might be termed `everything', but there are so many aspects of their lives that they seem compelled to reinforce with negativity - Claire has two beautiful children, but the eldest isn't achieving at school and Claire blames herself; Jody is accepted into film school but it means a dreaded journey (she is afraid of flying - get a Greyhound bus for god's sake!). Insecurities abound for these women yet they have money, houses, great social lives, people who love them (Claire's husband is a paragon, considerate, sexy, loving, great with the kids - perfection - come on Claire, wake up!).

When Claire begins to imagine that she is Jody's real mother and evidence to the contrary is ignored, we begin to feel distinctly uneasy about her future.

Homes has created a mixture made up of a relationship novel and a psychological thriller with this highly original book. The writing is witty, insightful and makes for an increasingly intriguing read, though sometimes my patience was exhausted by the almost perverse pessimism of the two main protagonists' thinking. On reflection, however, it felt accurate about the continued waning of the American Dream and as if the difficulties encountered were symptoms of an ailment compounded by wealth and privilege.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Jul 2013 20:17:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Jul 2013 20:18:40 BDT
Have just finished reading this book. You raise some interesting points. Great review, Eileen!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2013 12:26:56 BDT
Eileen Shaw says:
Thanks Sue - I am a confirmed fan of your site and always enjoy your reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2013 23:28:04 BDT
Aw, shucks - thanks Eileen. Nice to know I'm not 'whistling in the dark'!
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