Thursday, September 8, 2011

Julie's Review: Close Your Eyes

Close Your Eyes: A Novel Summary: In Close Your Eyes, the author of the bestselling How to Be Lost spins another mesmerizing tale of buried family secrets. For most of her life, Lauren Mahdian has been certain of two things: that her mother is dead, and that her father is a murderer. Before the horrific tragedy, Lauren led a sheltered life in a wealthy corner of America, in a town outside Manhattan on the banks of Long Island Sound, a haven of luxurious homes, manicured lawns, and seemingly perfect families. Here Lauren and her older brother, Alex, thought they were safe. But one morning, six-year-old Lauren and eight-year-old Alex awoke after a night spent in their tree house to discover their mother’s body and their beloved father arrested for the murder. Years later, Lauren is surrounded by uncertainty. Her one constant is Alex, always her protector, still trying to understand the unraveling of his idyllic childhood. But Lauren feels even more alone when Alex reveals that he’s been in contact over the years with their imprisoned father—and that he believes he and his sister have yet to learn the full story of their mother’s death. Then Alex disappears. As Lauren is forced to peek under the floorboards of her carefully constructed memories, she comes to question the version of her history that she has clung to so fiercely. Lauren’s search for the truth about what happened on that fateful night so many years ago is a riveting tale that will keep readers feverishly turning pages. ~randomhouse.com

Review: I love books that pack an emotional punch and Close Your Eyes does that from the beginning. Based on the summary, you know something awful is going to happen in the first 20 pages and it does. The rest of the book focuses on the aftermath of the trauma for Lauren and her brother Alex. I immediately liked Lauren. I think it was the way we were introduced to her that made her so likable. We first meet her when she's 6 years old and telling the story of the fateful night her mom was murdered. Meeting her as an innocent 6 year old who's world was shattered, helped me to understand her as an adult.

Lauren is an emotional mess. She won't commit to her boyfriend because she's afraid that every man is like her father. To her marriage = murder. She relies on her brother Alex for stability and comfort. I wouldn't call Lauren emotionally stunted but she's never been able to fully deal with what happened in the house when she was 6. She has blocked out part of the night and she believes she saw her father murder her mother.

Lauren believes that her father killed her mother, she's never wavered on that belief. It's pretty much all she believes in. Alex believes in his father's innocence and has spent much of his adult life trying to find evidence to exonerate him. When Alex decides to change his life, he tells Lauren that it is up to her clear their father.

We also meet Sylvia, who is sneaking away from a alcoholic boyfriend and making her way back to New York. She's another lost soul but as her story begins to unravel it isn't too hard to figure out how she figures into the whole story. For me, her story wasn't as intriguing as Lauren's. I felt for Sylvia because she had an absentee mother but she was essentially making the same mistakes all over.

I thoroughly enjoyed Close Your Eyes. Ms. Ward is a talented writer, it is a rare writer who can accomplish so much in a fairly small amount of pages. I loved the ending of the book but would love read about the fall out of the revelations in the book in the future.

I loved how Lauren in the end she took her life by the reigns and ended up growing and living. By the end of the novel, I believe she found some kind of peace.

Final Take: 4.5/5

This is another case where Twitter rules! I won this from Random House during their #SecretRead contest in August.


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