My book review for Springtime in Lawrence Park by Arnold Logan is a long time coming. I got it last year, in fact! But I’ve been so busy and had so many other books on my list to read before this one.
I had high hopes for this book. It seemed like a page turner filled with mystery and soap opera family dynamics. Marie Barnacle is the youngest child of Raul and Tabitha Barnacle. The Barnacle family is a prominent Canadian family with their roots tracing back hundreds of years. The synopsis basically said that dark family secrets loom and that the family have a path picked out for Marie and they would do anything to “protect their darling – even destroy her”. Sounds juicy, right?
When the novel starts out, the Barnacle family have two young sons and a beautiful baby girl that is basically described to be an angel on earth. Tragedy strikes and baby girl Barnacle is killed in a freak accident. When Marie is born, the family decides to never tell her about Susan. I was hooked – I thought that her whole life, Marie was going to feel like she was being compared to someone but not know who and the whole secret was going to come crashing down on them etc. But the book ended up being mostly about Marie and her string of bizarre and failed relationships. Some parts sucked me in and I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen. Other parts started to feel repetitive and I would start to lose sight of the point of the novel.
When the novel begins, you think you’re going to feel bad for Marie. Her family is crazy (and a bit incestuous when it comes to their feelings about her, to be honest) and they’re keeping a big secret from her. Plus, the father is physically and emotionally abusive. But as the story progresses, I didn’t find myself feeling sorry for Marie at all despite her weird family. For example, while in college she purposely would sleep with guys with girlfriends who she knew. Then, she wonders why she gets kicked out of her sorority!
Marie’s life continues to be told for years to come in the story. The novel wasn’t what I was expecting and at over 400 pages it took me a while to get through. It wasn’t bad, but as I said it wasn’t what I was expecting so the whole story really threw me off.
*I received this book complimentary, but all opinions are my own.*