Title: Playing with Matches
Author: Carolyn Wall
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Summary: (From Amazon) Growing up in False River, Mississippi, Clea Shine learned early that a small town is no place for big secrets. Having fled years ago in the wake of a tragedy and now settled with a family of her own, she faces a turning point in her marriage and seeks refuge in the one place she vowed never to return.
Clea’s homecoming is bittersweet. Reunited with Jerusha Lovemore, the kindly neighbor who raised her, Clea gains a sense of love and comfort, but still cannot escape the ghosts of her past: the abandonment by her disreputable mother, her constant search for belonging, the truth behind that fateful night from long ago. Once outspoken and impulsive, Clea now seeks only redemption and peace of mind. And as a hurricane threatens to hit False River, everything she has tried to forget may finally be exposed once and for all.
A mesmerizing and poignant work by a master of the Soutern novel, Playing with Matches is a stunning tale of guilt, forgiveness, and the enduring bonds of family.
Review: I enjoyed this book while I reading it, but looking back on it I’m not sure how much I really liked it. There were some things that really bugged me, the jump of approximately 20 years in between two of the chapters; it just skips forward in time unexpectedly and without much detail about what happened during those missing years. I also didn’t really like the story line with the boy who lived in the tree; I really wanted more out of him. I really liked the beginning when Clea was a girl, I didn’t really like her as an adult and maybe that’s a point of the story. But even after everything she went through as an adult back in Mississippi I still didn’t really like her, I didn’t feel like she had changed, and I wanted young Clea back. The ending wasn’t my favorite either, I’m not sure if the big storm coming was necessary, it just all got really dramatic and I didn’t enjoy it. One thing I did like about this book was the southern setting. You really got a good feel for the town and the locals. But I really felt like this book should’ve either focused on the younger years of Clea or the adulthood, trying to do both didn’t work for me. The book is well written and I can see it appealing to some readers, just be aware of that weird split in the middle.
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