Sunday, August 9, 2009

Between Here and April - Deborah Copaken Kogan

This book is a reminder to me that I need to keep better track of the sources of the recommendations I receive. I am certain that there are some sources that always pan out - and others, like the one this book came from - that I need to just say no to. Between Here and April is told from the first-person perspective of Elizabeth Burns, a journalist mother of two. When she was a child, her best friend April suddenly disappeared. She simply stopped coming to school and despite the rumors buzzing around class, Elizabeth never quite put together in her head what happened to her playmate. Years later, certain triggers cause Elizabeth to pass out - and as she sorts out her feelings with a psychiatrist, she is compelled to investigate April's mysterious disappearance. The story sounds quite compelling. The problem is there is just too much going on in Elizabeth 's life and simply no focus to the story. Elizabeth's marriage is falling apart, her husband has a curious S&M obsession. Elizabeth's mother is emotionally unavailable. An ex-boyfriend of Elizabeth's is back in the picture - while at the same time Elizabeth is uncovering rumors of infidelity by April's mother and father - and Elizabeth revisits traumatic events she experienced while covering a story in a war-torn country. While a couple of these story lines may be necessary to illustrate the complexity of Elizabeth's life and the difficulty in sorting out her feelings with respect to April, mostly it just felt like too much of an attempt to shock the reader, with a lack in sophistication in terms of explanation. While the premise was a good one, the book itself was sorely disappointing.

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