One of my “32 Goals for 32” was to read 32 books. In the second half of 2011 i only read about 4 books, but so far in 2012 I’ve read 10. I think it is mostly due to my lack of cable this year. But I might make it to my goal right? I decided that since I’m reading so many books that I might as well start reviewing a couple of them for you.
*Just a note – I am not any sort of literary genius. I love to read and I read all sorts of books. I read really long books and short books. I read books that are popular, books that have been recommended by friends, and books that my mom gives me. Just because a book wasn’t a good fit for me, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a good fit for you.
Author: Dorothea Benton Frank
Publication Date: 2004
Book Description (from Amazon.com):
Set in the steamy, stormy landscape of South Carolina, Sullivan’s Island tells the unforgettable story of one woman’s courageous journey toward truth.
Born and raised on idyllic Sullivan’s Island, Susan Hayes navigated through her turbulent childhood with humor, spunk, and characteristic Southern sass. But years later, she is a conflicted woman with an unfaithful husband, a sometimes resentful teenage daughter, and a heart that aches with painful, poignant memories. And as Susan faces her uncertain future, she realizes that she must go back to her past. To the beachfront house where her sister welcomes her with open arms. To the only place she can truly call home.
I will admit that the only reason I read this book is because I needed something to read. I’d just finished the last book of the Hunger Games series and I was itching for something else to read. I was waiting on books from the library I had on hold to become available when I found this underneath my coffee table just hanging out. It was a book my mom had purchased from a used book store and given to me when she was done. I’m sure when she gave it to me she described it as a “light read.” My mom usually doesn’t hand over books unless she at least liked them a little bit, so I was willing to give it a try. She usually reads spy books, but throws in a “light read” on occasion (usually when there aren’t any new spy books out).
I was excited to read the book when I realized that it took place in the South. I’m from Florida, but consider myself a Southerner. I’m pretty sure in a past life I was a Southern Belle living in Savannah or somewhere similar. For the most part the book is about Susan who suddenly finds herself on the wrong side of a divorce and becoming a single parent to a teenager. The story line is fairly basic, talking about how she deals with her “new life,” but the way it is told is what really got me. The book goes back and forth between present day, which is 1999, and 1963 when Susan was a child. You learn all about her crazy family, the attempts at segregation in the south, and life in general in the early 60s. I loved reading about her past this way. Ever since seeing The Help (no, I haven’t read it yet) I’ve been thinking about how it must have been to live in that time period, so it made reading this book even better.
Being recently divorced myself I always wonder how story lines about divorce will hit me. Thankfully this story was nothing like my own. Without giving too much away, I like how they handled her new relationship with her ex-husband and making sure that her daughter continued to have a relationship with him. The author did a good job at making you aware of the ex-husband’s mistakes without taking a “man hating” stab at him. Yes he made mistakes, but he was trying to make the best of their new situation. I’m not a fan of books where the husband takes all the blame for the failure of the relationship and you walk away feeling like the author (and the main character) are man haters.
Even though this was a “light read” it wasn’t a book that I finished in a few hours (which I’ve been known to do on multiple occasions). I finished the book and was happy with how it ended, although I was wishing that there was more to go. The author ended the book very well, but the characters were so wonderful that I wanted to know more about them and where they ended up. So imagine my delight when I looked up Dorothea Benton Frank on Amazon today and found Return to Sullivan’s Island! This second book is about the daughter of Susan, the main character in the first book, and her journey into adulthood. I added it to my hold list at the library and cannot wait to read it.
So did I like the book? Yes. Will I read more books by Dorothea Benton Frank? Heck yeah! Sometimes you just need a break from reality and this book was just that. No wars, no spies, no monsters, no crazy plots about religion. I cannot wait to read more of her books, which all take place in the South, and relive my Southern Belle days 🙂