Monday, January 25, 2016

Call Me Home

by Megan Kruse

I hemmed and hawed on this book for a while after the first review I read. Eventually, I decided the story of a young gay man in the rural Pacific Northwest was enough of a hook for me. Even after I checked it out, though, it took me a while to get around to reading it.

At first, I was stunned and thrilled by the writing, which seemed fresh and tender and emotionally taut. That initial blush of amazement wore off somewhat, but I still give this book great marks overall. It's a tragic story, with domestic violence and desperate choices, wrenching betrayals and hopeful reunions. Point of view alternates among three characters, sometimes unevenly in terms of length. At times I wasn't feeling the sections from the mother's POV, but ultimately her story becomes a convincingly difficult picture of a woman in a destructive relationship.

The young man's storyline is thoroughly explored, but I was never 100% sold. His relationship with a closeted construction foreman seems too good to be true, even while it is clearly doomed, but his emotions and longing are realistic. The third narrator is the younger sister, whose sections are told in first person, lending them more immediacy. She's less fully-drawn and in ways more intriguing, partly but not only by virtue of being young and half-baked.

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