Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Julie's Review: Migratory Animals

Author: Mary Helen Specht
Series: None
Publication Date: January 20, 2015
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 320
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.0/5.0
Bottom Line: Lovely writing but ultimately didn't connect with me development
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: When Flannery, a young scientist, is forced to return to Austin after five years of research in Nigeria, she becomes torn between her two homes. Having left behind her loving fiance without knowing when she will return, Flannery learns that her sister, Molly, has begun to show signs of the genetic disease that slowly killed their mother. As their close-knit circle of friends struggles with Molly's diagnosis, Flannery must grapple with what her future will hold: love and the pursuit of scientific discovery in West Africa, or the pull of a life surrounded by old friends, the comfort of an old flame, family obligations, and the home she's always known. But she is not the only one wrestling with uncertainty. Since their college days, all of her friends have faced unexpected challenges that make them reevaluate the lives they'd always planned for themselves. A mesmerizing debut from an exciting young writer, Migratory Animals is a moving, thought-provoking novel, told from shifting viewpoints, about the meaning of home and what we owe each other and ourselves.  

Review: Migratory Animals (P.S.) is a novel about what it's like to try and find yourself when the world around you is changing. We are introduced to friends from college who have all gone their separate ways but who all come together when Flannery returns to the States from Nigeria. When I say that this group lived in a bubble, I really mean a laboratory since most of them were scientists working for a variety of different sciences. Flannery returns home to try to get funding for her experiment so that she can go back to Kunle and continue her work.

There are intricacies to this small group of friends, they really are like family. Like any family, they have their struggles and disagreements. Specifically, Flannery doesn't understand the lines she blurs when dealing with Santiago.  She thinks they are friends but Santiago holds out hope of rekindling their flame.

There are marital problems as Flannery's best friend, Alyce, struggles with being a mother and wife. There are bigger health issues as Flannery's sister, Molly, fights a debilitating disease. Flannery is not equipt with the emotional IQ to deal with this development. She also struggles with guilt as she really wants nothing more than to go back to Nigeria.

Ms. Specht writes beautifully. Her descriptions of Nigeria are breathtaking. While I might not have connected with the characters, they are flushed out and well-rounded. What bothered me was that they didn't seem to be able to function in the real world. They were ill-prepared for what life might throw at them. Life is never as easy as we think it might be and you have to sometimes know how to roll with it.

Having said that, I definitely look forward to what Ms. Specht will write in the future.



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