Thursday, March 26, 2009

Julie's Reviews: Skylight Confessions

Summary: In Hoffman's 19th novel, a young woman becomes the victim of the destiny she's created, leaving behind a splintered family. On the day of her father's funeral, 17-year-old Arlyn Singer decides the first man who walks down the street will be her one love. That night, Yale senior John Moody stops to ask directions, and Arlyn and John take the first passionate steps toward what will become a marriage of heartache and mutual betrayal. After John's architect father dies, the couple moves into his Connecticut home, a glass house called the Glass Slipper, and Arlyn has an affair with a local laborer. She dies while her second child is still young, and the story forks to follow the divergent paths taken by the Moody children. Sam, the self-destructive first-born, spray paints his angst all over lower Manhattan and has a son before disappearing. Blanca, Sam's sister and the only family member he loves, moves to London and opens a bookstore. John remarries, to Cynthia, and has another daughter, but carries a family secret with him to his grave. Ghostly apparitions lend an air of dark enchantment, though the numerous dream sequences feel heavy-handed.

Review: This is the 3rd Alice Hoffman book I've read and it was a disappointment for me. Skylight Confessions is a dreamy, dark book and not what I was expecting at all. The book starts off with Arlyn (Arlie) losing her dad and wishing that the next person who comes to the house will be the man that she marries. Enter John Moody. These two characters couldn't be any different than day and night. Frankly I didn't like either of these 2 people. Arlie was a dreamer whom I believe damaged her son emotionally. The book is broken up in 3 parts and the last 2 are the better of the 3. In part 2 we get to know Meredith Weiss, Sam and Blanca more. Meredith and Blanca are the only 2 redeeming characters in this book. Meredith is a lost soul who comes to the Moody's by a chance meeting. It ends up changing her life. She fights for Sam who feels like he was left behind by his mother. Sam and his dad have never seen eye to eye and it continues to deteriorate throughout the book.

In Part III we are introduced to Will, Sam's son. Will seems like a good kid and he's the only character that I feel we should have gotten to know better. In that respect the book ended too quickly.

All in all I didn't feel any connection to any of the characters. Ms. Hoffman's books typically have such strong characters and strong female characters that I felt this book was against type for her.

If you are an Alice Hoffman fan then I think this book is a disappointment; if you've never read her than I definitely don't think this is the book should be your first.

Final Take: 3.5/5


Mary March 26, 2009 at 8:23 AM  

While I enjoy Hoffman's writing, I just couldn't like this book - for all the reasons you listed. It was just so bleak - not what I want from a book.

Serena March 26, 2009 at 9:07 AM  

I've never read Alice Hoffman, so I guess I won't start with this one.

Amanda March 31, 2009 at 2:10 PM  

That's what I felt like with The Third Angel. I gave up about 50-ish pages into it. What is that about? It was so unlike her. Shallow characters that I really didn't like. So unlike the River King and the Ice Queen. I loved those two. Sigh.

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