the next good book

The Berry Pickers

By Amanda Peters

7/10
(7/10)

304 pages

What’s it about?

It is 1962 and Ruthie is just four-years-old when she is taken from a berry patch in Maine.  She is from a family of indigenous farm workers and although they search tirelessly Ruthie is never found.  Norma grows up in Maine with strange dreams and an over-protective mother.  As the years go forward she struggles to make sense of her world.

What did it make me think about?

Memories.

Should I read it?

This is a much loved novel so take my review as one person’s opinion.  For me, the story does not ebb and flow much.  It is depressing and stays depressing throughout. Joe and Norma are the two main characters that we hear from, and they both seem intent on only seeing the bad in their difficult lives. One of Norma’s most normal relationships was with her father- and yet when reflecting back on her father she muses, “It was unfair that I laughed so little with my father.  Our conversations consisted mostly of complaints against my mother and his defense of her.  I would have liked to laugh more with him, and I feel cheated and a little annoyed that he never gave me the chance.” Without some moments of levity or joy interspersed in this story, I just felt pummeled by Joe and Norma’s pain- to the point that it became mundane.

Quote-

“Some secrets are so dark that it’s best they remain buried.  Even people who exude light and happiness have dark secrets.”

What’s it about?

It is 1962 and Ruthie is just four-years-old when she is taken from a berry patch in Maine.  She is from a family of indigenous farm workers and although they search tirelessly Ruthie is never found.  Norma grows up in Maine with strange dreams and an over-protective mother.  As the years go forward she struggles to make sense of her world.

What did it make me think about?

Memories.

Should I read it?

This is a much loved novel so take my review as one person’s opinion.  For me, the story does not ebb and flow much.  It is depressing and stays depressing throughout. Joe and Norma are the two main characters that we hear from, and they both seem intent on only seeing the bad in their difficult lives. One of Norma’s most normal relationships was with her father- and yet when reflecting back on her father she muses, “It was unfair that I laughed so little with my father.  Our conversations consisted mostly of complaints against my mother and his defense of her.  I would have liked to laugh more with him, and I feel cheated and a little annoyed that he never gave me the chance.” Without some moments of levity or joy interspersed in this story, I just felt pummeled by Joe and Norma’s pain- to the point that it became mundane.

Quote-

“Some secrets are so dark that it’s best they remain buried.  Even people who exude light and happiness have dark secrets.”

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