04 February 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Leaving Home: Short Pieces (Kindle Single) by Jodi Picoult

This was an interesting book for me to read. I’m a fan of Picoult’s books, although I consider them fairly light. They deal with heavier subjects, but the writing rarely gets deep into character study or anything like that. When I saw there were some new “short” stories to read out by her, I grabbed them and immediate read them.

They are fairly short. On Kindle, it’s less than 800 locations for all three stories. I thought this would be enough for the author to get her point across, but I was both disappointed and elated at the same time.

The first story is a story about the loss of a child. Something that I consider the absolute worst thing that can happen to a parent. I cannot pretend to understand what they go through. The fact that she tackled this difficult subject, I think, is commendable. I think she lost me a bit in some of the symbolism. I got it, but I think it was unneeded. I think this may have been a bit of an experiment for her. I don’t think it failed, but for what she was doing, it needed more length (even though it took up the first half of this short story collection).

The second piece is a letter she wrote to her son as he left for college. I will admit this chocked me up a bit. What a beautiful letter to prepare for your child that tells them so much. I’m sure as a mother, she must be so proud and I loved her voice here, the “cheering on” without a lot of preaching was really well done. I think I’ll just xerox this to give to my kids when they go off into the world (they are still in Elementary school)… I’ll just cross out her name and put mine there. *laughing* Seriously, this was very well done and I loved getting a look into her “real” life.

The third story is a story about a mom that takes a vacation, she just up and leaves the family to fend for themselves. I think all of us have had that urge to get in the car and get away from those people that keep yelling “Mom!!!” so I was sitting here cheering for the mom a few times. However, I think there was more going on and with the length, it was simply not able to be explored. While I am not sure it could be a whole book, I would like to see more about what was going on, the father mentioned a few things that made me think there was more to it. Having said that, I took away a little message from this piece about my own “hurry up and work work work” attitude. Sometimes you just need to leave it.

Overall, a decent undertaking by this author. I liked the format and it gave me something to read of hers while waiting for a new novel to be released.

Recommended for Picoult fans and other who enjoy short stories.

Leaving Home brings together three, previously published short pieces, each dealing with a variation on the theme of leaving home. The first, “Weights and Measures,” deals with the tragic loss of a child; the second is a non-fiction letter Picoult wrote to her eldest son as he left for college; and, “Ritz” tells the story of a mother who takes the vacation all mothers need sometime.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Book count for 2011: 8

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