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But in June 1990, whatever idyll the Goodhearts have worked for comes to a permanent end. On a beautiful morning--marred by her 5-year-old's tantrum but still recuperable--Alice looks forward to taking her children and Theresa's youngest for a swim. Distracted for several minutes, she has no idea that the 2-year-old is no longer in the house:
Lizzy had run to the pond and splashed in. It had felt good on her hot feet and she kept running and then she was pedaling and pedaling. She tried to grab hold of the water, pawing for the metal bar, a ladder rung, her mother, but there was nothing. She clutched and flailed.... She sank. The trout that Howard had stocked in the pond swam along through the dark water. They noticed Lizzy out of the corner of their eyes. They had inherited the knowledge of that look, and they knew it by heart.This is only the first of Alice's body blows. Next, she's questioned about one of her students, a memorably bad seed. On the verge of collapse, she cries out, "I hurt everybody!"--which will later be construed as a confession. Charged with sexual abuse and unable to come up with $100,000 in bail, she is forced to await trial in jail.
Narrated first by Alice, then Howard, and then Alice again, A Map of the World moves from intimate domesticity to courtroom drama with grace and subtlety. Hamilton wrote her book when accusations of abuse in schools and day care were peaking, yet this is not a modish work or an "issue novel" but a lasting creation of several complex lives. At one point, fed up with civil mechanisms, Alice tells her lawyer: "'Let Oprah be the judge.... Let Robbie and me, Mrs. Mackessy, Howard, Theresa, Dan, Mrs. Glevitch--let all of us come before Oprah. Let the studio audience decide. They're nice suburban woman, many of them, dressed for a lark. They have common sense and speak their minds.'" Apparently La Winfrey was listening, since she chose this beautifully observed novel for her book club. --Kerry Fried --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Two Stars -- if I were just reviewing the narrator, it would be down to one star. The second is for the possibility there is a decent story in there somewhere. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Love Old Books
did not like characters or style of writing. Would not recommend to friends or book club. didn't feel title fit the book.Published 4 months ago by Linda Oberwise
I wasn't ready to read this one right now. It's the winter here with gray, ice, very cold etc. I'm not a fan of the winter so I needed something more uplifting. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Leslie Kaye
I first attempted to read this novel when it was published around 1999, but I could not get into it. I successfully gave it a 2nd chance recently. Read morePublished 6 months ago by robinelisa
This was a book club selection. I would not have chosen this book myself. I found it to be well written, with well drawn characters. Read morePublished 9 months ago by A. Dixon
This book was boring and depressing. It was recommended to me by a friend, and I usually can read a book a day but this one took me two weeks! Read morePublished 10 months ago by Robert Walls
One of the best books I've ever read. Accomplished story-telling writer,
excellent portrayal of human nature. Some suprises, as there should be.
Full of texture. The story of one family's life after false accusal, imprisonment, trial, and acquittal. The sad way that America's dairy farmers struggle and often lose..Published 13 months ago by Laura Lamer-Thomas
I knew this was quite popular a few years ago. It seemed to drag at times. However, I was not disappointed.Published 15 months ago by mkm