- Fizzy Thoughts: Without a Backward Glance

Without a Backward Glance

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Without a Backward Glance
Kate Veitch
July 2008
368 pages

It's Christmas Eve 1967, in Australia. Rosemarie McDonald tells her children she's running out to buy some Christmas lights for the tree. And she never comes back.

Forty years later the McDonald siblings are all struggling with issues. Deborah, the eldest, is a bit of a control freak. She has let her job dominate her life, and is increasingly distant from her husband and child. Robert deals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and is trying to stop it from taking over his life. James has settled for friendship over passion in his marriage. And Meredith, the baby, is an alcoholic. Additionally, their beloved father, Alex, is slipping into dementia.

Then unexpectedly, James finds their mother in England. Rosemarie is now Rose, a successful seamstress with a happy marriage. Rose's reappearance will affect all of the siblings, although to different degrees.

I really enjoyed the characters and the story. I was surprised it was set in Australia, as that seems to be something I never caught in all the reviews I read of this book. Since I like me a foreign setting, that was a pleasant surprise. However, it seemed that the reappearance of Rose coincided with the resolution of everyone's problems. By the end of the book everything had been wrapped up quite tidily...granted, not everyone gets a happily ever after, but it's darn close.


Veitch also painted Rosemarie as a total bitch in the beginning of the book. However, the older Rose was a much more sympathetic character. It's evident that suburban motherhood was not for her, yet I also found it a bit odd that someone who never really apologizes is so easily accepted back into the family. When it comes right down to it, I think I would have liked the book even better if Rose had never returned. Or been edited out.

5 comment(s):

bermudaonion said...

The beginning of your review really caught my attention, but having all the loose ends tied up so neatly would kind of ruin it, I think. I'm on the fence with this one now.

lisamm said...

I've read a few lately that I'd like to rewrite the ending for- sounds like you could have come up with a better one for Without a Backward Glance!

BTW I like the new look!! Inspiring! Makes me think about changing things over at BOTB. Nah.. I'm too lazy.

Bogsider said...

Sounds like an interesting read. And I also have to say that I like your new look. I am forever trying to find the right look for my blog, and right now I just go with a very simple one. But I need to be able to do more and have more "stuff" on my blog without it looking cluttered, and your new look is very cool. Anyway, I have joined a blog improvement project this year and am hoping to get some ideas there through the year. Happy New Year to you.

Dar said...

Good review Jill. I've seen this one around a bit and it interests me. I like the opening sentence too. I sure wouldn't be too accepting of someone who had taken off like that.

Joanne said...

Great review, I'm not crazy about neat endings but the story sounds interesting enough to make this book worth it. I'm a total sucker for family dramas.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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