Monday, June 25, 2007
Fortune’s Rocks By Anita Shreve
It’s hard for me to say if I liked this one or not. I like the way Shreve makes me think. Her books are not entirely comfortable to read - there is a nagging that can’t be ignored. So it was with Fortune’s Rocks.
The story takes place in early 1900 at a time when girls were to be seen and not heard. The scene is New Hampshire - along the coast at the edge of a Textile mill town. But, Olympia at the edge of 16, has been raised in the light of her father's eye far from the work and the hardships of mill work. Then Olympia meets John Haskell, a 40 something doctor and father of several. There is instant attraction between the two. Against both of their better judgements - they becoming romantically entwined. As the summer passes, they know their 'love' must end. But, their are discovered at Olympia's 16th party by John's wife and a nasty poet.
Olympia's family returns at once to Boston and complete disgrace. John is sent from his home and his Dr. license taken from him. Olympia discovers herself pregnant and the baby is taken from her as well.
But, that is not wher Shreve ends the book. Instead, Olympia fights back from her father's disgrace. She attends college for a few years and then 'runs' away back to Fortune's Rocks where she was happy. She begins to live on her own in the house by the sea.
I don't want to tell you the rest of the story - but it continues on.
My problem was the very idea of a 15 and 40 year old having this deep and profound love. And the destruction that they created. Shreve doesn't defend or condone - rather she simply reports. I don't know if I like that.... It made me cringe more than once. Again, I have to read this with the eye of the mom of a teen-ager!!
Anyway - this is a haunting tale, like all of Shreves. There are no easy and pat answers. Instead, life is messy and goes on long after you think there is absolutely no way for it to contine!!