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#206 ~ Goldengrove

Cover of Goldengrove

tlc-logo-resizedToday it is my great pleasure to be Francine Prose’s host on her TLC Book Tour for her novel, Goldengrove.  I have enjoyed the reviews I’ve read along the way.  Please see the end of my review for a list of the blogs who are on this tour with me.

I have a lot of fun working as a tour host for TLC Book Tours.  They always have great books and authors on tour.  Check out their website for more information on this tour and the others that they are hosting.

I would also like to thank Meredith at HarperCollins for sending me a review copy of this novel.  I love the cover and it was such a treat to find in the mail.

My Review

Goldengrove by Francine Prose

Nico’s sister Margaret was four years older than her and all that she was not.  She was slim, attractive to opposite sex, a talented singer, and looking forward to going to college in the fall.  Although their family was close and their parents were former hippies, Margaret wasn’t especially getting along with them.  Her father didn’t approve of her boyfriend, Aaron, and her mother fought with her about smoking because of her heart condition.  One summer Sunday the sisters were sunbathing out in the lake on their boat.  They could hear their mother practicing at the piano in their lake front house.  Nico was curious about all the things that Margaret was and wondering if she would ever be like her.  Even still, Nico couldn’t help bringing up her sister’s smoking habit.  When Margaret had enough, she saluted Nico and dove into the lake.  She was never seen alive again.  At age 13, Nico had to learn to navigate the waters of a life of kept secrets while haunted by a sister who seemed so nearly perfect.

Goldengrove is a lyrical look at life after a tragic loss.  The way that time, place, and emotion are described is really beautiful.  The language Prose used was interesting in and of itself, specifically just after Margaret dies.  Her use of words made scenes where Nico and her parents couldn’t sleep very powerful.  You could see them in different places within the house trying to keep quiet, knowing all along that they were fooling no one into believing they were sleeping.  Their mourning was almost poetic.

francine-prose-199x300The loss of Margaret didn’t quite bring the family closer together.  It cut a hole between her parents and between parents and “only remaining child.”  Nico isn’t sure if there is anyone who can understand what she’s going through except for Aaron.  As she kept Margaret’s secret dates with Aaron, Nico begins seeing him in secret as well.  Together they feel as though they can cross sacred ground.  They both were trying to recapture Margaret by using each other and it was when this storyline got deep that I felt that the beauty of the prose was lost for a while.  It’s lyrical quality was broken.  Going from lyrical to creepy just didn’t work well for me.  I think this was true to Nico’s experience as well and didn’t really disrupt my enjoyment.  I just wish some of the harder aspects of Nico’s summer with Aaron had that same poetic quality.

Goldengrove is the first novel I’ve read by Francine Prose.  It sounds strange to say that I really enjoyed a novel that deals with the aftermath of losing a sibling during childhood, but I did.  The language was beautiful and engaging almost entirely throughout.  I would be interested to know if this novel would seem as lifelike and honest to someone who has experienced the loss of a sibling during childhood.  I was enchanted by the cover and the novel did not disappoint.  I am looking forward to reading more of Prose’s work.

++++++

Francine Prose’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS

Tuesday, September 22nd: Book Magic

Wednesday, September 23rd: Eclectic Book Lover

Thursday, September 24th: The Bluestocking Society

Tuesday, September 29th: Dolce Bellezza

Thursday, October 1st: A Sea of Books

Monday, October 5th: A High and Hidden Place

Tuesday, October 6th: Books on the Brain

Wednesday, October 7th: S. Krishna’s Books

Thursday, October 8th : Book Chatter and Other Stuff

Tuesday, October 13th: Caribousmom

Thursday, October 15th: The 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness

Mark Your Calendars: Francine will be interviewed by Book Club Girl on Blog Talk Radio on September 24th, 2009 at 4:00pm.

14 Comments

  • At 2009.10.14 06:11, Sandy said:

    I think you’re in good company with this one. The reviews have been excellent, despite the grave topic. What an achievement for a first-time author!

    • At 2009.10.14 07:53, A Bookshelf Monstrosity said:

      This sounds like an excellent read. Thanks for the review 🙂

      • At 2009.10.14 09:35, Stephanie said:

        I’ve been seeing this one around a lot lately because of the blog tour and I’m pretty convinced I would enjoy it. I need to track down a copy. Thanks for the review!

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        • At 2009.10.14 10:46, Kathy said:

          I’ve read a lot of great reviews of Goldengrove. I know what you mean – it does feel strange to say you loved a book about a dark subject.

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          • At 2009.10.14 16:34, Amy Reads Good Books said:

            Great review! I’m excited to pick this one up at my local library.

            • At 2009.10.14 16:47, trish said:

              Jennifer, you make this book sound fantastic! I’m really glad you enjoyed it! You do a great job of giving out a few pieces of the story to reel me in but not giving away any spoilers. 🙂

              Thanks for being on this tour!

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              • At 2009.10.14 17:42, Amy said:

                I really want to read this book. I haven’t read a bad review of it ywet. I think the subject matter is interesting and not so easy to write about. Thanks for a great review!

                • At 2009.10.14 22:52, Jennifer said:

                  Thank you all for stopping by. I think this is another book almost everyone will enjoy.

                  • At 2009.10.14 23:08, Ti said:

                    It was good wasn’t it? I liked that it was a bit complex…the relationship with Aaron, the way the mom coped, etc.

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                    • At 2009.10.16 13:49, Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) said:

                      I have another of her books to read…

                      sounds like this is another to consider.

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                      • At 2009.10.18 08:24, diane said:

                        I really enjoyed this book too. Prose is a good author IMO.

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                          • At 2009.10.21 07:39, Dominique said:

                            I’ve had this sitting on my shelf for awhile but I’ve been putting off reading it, I guess because it sounds a bit depressing. You’ve inspired me to get around to it though, I must give it a go!

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                            • At 2009.10.23 18:56, S. Krishna said:

                              I thought that Prose’s prose (heh heh heh) really made this novel. Great review.

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