Thursday, May 15, 2008

Book Review Thursday

Last night, as I was awaiting a UPS truck that never came, I had the opportunity to finish Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh. Another bargain book, I got this at the local used book store and hate to admit that I bought it based on it's cover and some of the reviews written on the book itself. The book is essentially a bit of a character study about a man named Ken Kimble told through the stories of his three wives. It's an extraordinary yet ordinary tale about marriage, divorce, children, and life. Its begins with Birdie, Ken's first wife, right after Ken has left her with two young children. He left her for another, younger, woman and Birdie is languishing in her sorrow, drowning it in booze and not properly caring for her children. I know it sounds sad and depressing, but I was rooting for this character as I read about her situation. She was incredibly well constructed and very realistic. We next move on to Joan, a few years later, who meets Ken at a BBQ. Joan is a bit older, wiser, than Birdie. She's recently buried her father, has battled a bout of cancer and has moved to Florida to get away from it all. She and Ken marry and she realizes he has betrayed her in more than one way. We then move on to Dinah, Ken's third wife, who is significantly younger than Ken, yet falls prey to his wiles. They have the longest marriage, at 15 years, yet she seems to know or realize the least about her husband. The book was fascinating and I could not put it down. The characters are well constructed, well rounded, and realistic. The author does a wonderful job of showing this particular man through the eyes of his wives, and at some times, his children. The ending is neat, but not too neat. The characters drive the plot in unexpected ways. There were no twists or turns, just a fascinating portrayal of several characters, all of which I identified in some way. The author does a wonderful job of creating scenery, describing regions, sunsets, beaches, mountains, etc. I would highly recommend this book and this author to anyone interested.

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