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As David Brooks poignantly described Dreher's journey homeward in a recent New York Times column, Dreher and his wife Julie "decided to accept the limitations of small-town life in exchange for the privilege of being part of a community."
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By Martha A. Murray on 06-01-13
The Masks We Wear
Although the book is set in St. Francisville, Louisiana, the book has little southern flair. It has more of a small town feel. It is as if the author wrote the book and throw in the deep south references for dramatic appeal.
The book portrays Ruth as a saint. She is always doing for others. She stayed while her brother went north to find himself and his career. She remains upbeat throughout her difficult days dealing with cancer. She is almost too real to be true.
What struck me most was the masks everyone wore. Ruth didn't see a doctor until the cancer had progressed to terminal. She refused to know the details of her disease. She hide behind the mask of denial until it claimed her life.
Rather then dealing with her issues with her brother, she died living some festering wounds that poisoned his nieces. Each hide behind their masks until it was too late to heal the rift.
Their parents hid their true feelings. After Ruth dies, her brother moves back to their home town with his family only to find they were still the outsiders. His father lays on him a revelation that throws his decision to stay in limbo.
It is a good book in that it makes you realize now is the time to make peace with family and friends. We never know what path life will take, so we must live in harmony with all.
The reader has a lisp but as he continues reading it is less noticeable.
If you are looking for a light read, this is it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Danny D. on 05-01-13
Solid 4 star book, 5 star performance
Perhaps as more reviews accumulate (than the small statistical sampling as of my review), the book will settle in with solid 4's across the board as it deserves, though I think that the author's narration is not only a 5, but a reason to listen to the audio over the printed text. I am not reading the lower reviews, apprehensive that I will be tempted to refute them. With even sketchy knowledge of Rod Dreher's professional bio, his transition, even metamorphosis, is impactful enough. His skillful and surprisingly vulnerable translation of the family history and his sister's illness and death into text is a bravura performance. The book is really an achievement, even for an uber-intelligent professional. I return to the narration--if a prospective reader is looking for yet another tiresome performance attempting to translate a book to some kind of audio-only stage play, or another reading with melodrama that makes taking a drink from a water fountain sound more like a baptism with holy water, move on. The low key narration is a wonder, in fact perfect. More, more.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful