Thursday, July 3, 2008

The bonds that tie

Belong to Me felt very chick-lit at the beginning, but that perception faded as quickly as it came. While I suppose it qualifies as "women's fiction" (what with having female protagonists, the horror), it's not fluff. Marisa de los Santos explores suburbia and its dwellers without reducing them to stereotypes. At first, I thought there was no way the character of Piper could ever be redeemed and become even remotely human -- she's so unpleasant that you think she can't possibly exist, until you realize you know someone just like her. But the author rather skillfully allows her to grow, without changing what makes her interesting. I wasn't sure I liked where the ending was going when I got to the last third, but I realize in retrospect it couldn't have possibly gone anywhere else -- I don't think it's giving anything away to say that it fit perfectly, without being remotely predictable. Belong to Me examines the way our lives come together in unexpected ways, and how deeply one tiny moment can force us to be intertwined.

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