Thursday, March 26, 2009

Here on Earth
by Alice Hoffman

It took me a LONG time to get through Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman. I picked this book up and put it down again at least 3 times over a three year period. I put it on my Spring Reading Thing list to force myself to finish it. I picked it up Saturday afternoon and finished it in a little less than 2 hours. When I finished, I couldn't remember why I didn't like it to begin with!

The one thing that kept me trying to read the book several times was the vivid sense of place. The author painted a vivid picture of New England in the fall and winter. You could feel the cold, see the marsh grasses blowing in the howling wind and hear the foxes running through the woods. The character development, while slow, is in depth, wiht the strenghts and flaws of the character finally revealed, making the book the better for it.

The story had several plot lines involving a variet ofmemorable characters that aonly really came together at the end of the book. this is a story about trying to come home and recapter old memories and feelings and the reality that you can't come home again (no matter what Jon Bon Jovi says). When March comes back to Fox Hill upon the death of Judith and discovers the love of her life, Hollis has returned as well, she convinces herself that things can be the way they were years ago. Interwoven among the story of March and Hollis is the story of the Judge, his wife and the years long affair he had, the twisted relationship of the town drunk, his son and Hollis. And finally, the underlying story of Hollis's first wife, the sister of March's husband. With the dysfuctionality and views illustrated in the novel, it could have been set in the American South. the secrets and family relationships that Hoffman creates are worthy of a piece of southern literature.

Overall, I recommend the book. I ended up liking it, once the pieces began to fall in place. One reason I would recommend this book is that in th 3 days since I have finished the book, I am still thinking about the characters and questioning why they did the things they did. As this was the first book I have read by Alice Hoffman, I will probably read her work again, hoping to find the same vivid writing and strong character development.

Rating - C+

1 comment:

  1. I like most of Alice Hoffman's books, and I remember enjoying this one, though I found it quite disturbing. I agree that her characters tend to stick with you!