Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Review: Belong to Me

Sometimes I just can't believe that it took me as long as it did to read a book. I don't know why I chose to pick up this book, after it sat on my shelves for over a year, but I am so glad I did.

When I finally read Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos, I was immediately captivated. It's told alternately from the perspectives of three different characters, but I immediately felt a deep connection to many of the other characters as well. The writing is enchanting, the characters are real, and the emotions are as beautiful as they are painful.

Cornelia moves to the suburbs with her husband, and immediately feels out of place. A feeling that is not assuaged by the brisk, judgmental welcome that she is given by her neighbor, Piper. But we see an entirely different side of Piper with her best friend, Elizabeth, who is battling cancer. Cornelia finally finds a like-minded friend in Lake, but she always seems as though she has something to hide. Cornelia, who is so far child-less, finds a connection to Lake's gifted son. Through joy and tragedy, the characters come through a harrowing series of events and are intertwined in ways previously thought unimaginable.

I loved the characters in the book right from the start, and felt truly sad when they were gone after I read the last page. I also love the way de los Santos deals with the complex relationships. Nearly every relationship imaginable is depicted in this story, and they are all portrayed in a realistic and raw way that made me think about the relationships in my own life. Although it is a beautifully crafted work of fiction, Belong to Me taught me great things about myself and the people in my life.

After I finished the book, I came to discover that there was a prior book by de los Santos that includes some of the same characters. The author says that although they share some main characters, the books are meant to stand independently of one another. I think that's a really interesting way to write a second book. Either way, I'm excited to get my hands on the previous book, Love Walked In, as well as anything else written by this talented writer.

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