Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Her Reputation Precedes Her, April 1, 2012
This review is from: Come Home (Hardcover)
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Based on her reputation, I'm sure Lisa Scottoline is a talented novelist. If that claim has merit, however, Come Home is not typical of her work. It's not a bad novel, but for the first two hundred fifty or so pages it sometimes clunks along pretty slowly and seems to be in need of substantial editing. There is quite a bit of repetition and extraneous content, and a good editor might invigorate the passable prose that explains the circumstances of Jill, the protagonist, a twice married and now engaged pediatrician with a daughter of her own and two step-daughters.

As it is, this material is not wholly lacking in interest, and it does make clear that Scottoline knows something about families. When the two step-daughters, who have been out of the picture for three years, suddenly intrude, Jill's fiance' becomes increasingly uneasy and at one point says, "I didn't sign on for this!" For most people there's nothing especially memorable in these words, but they struck home with me because under similar circumstances I stupidly used exactly the same expression. I suspect others have, as well.

The author also understands the hectic nature of contemporary life for parents, children, and the families to which they belong. Multi-tasking is something I hate, both as a word and a practice, and I resent the fact that the technology-intensive, hyper-competitive nature of the world we live in sometimes makes it essential. Lisa Scottoline, however, is persuasive in making multi-tasking seem eminently do-able, while keeping a family intact, avoiding terminal fraying of the bonds of kinship. Nevertheless, there is something sort of unreal about Jill's boundless energy, ever-present good cheer, endless patience, and never-say-die stamina. Good mom's may be super heroes, but that doesn't mean they're superhuman.

I have no idea if the author is married or if she's been married more than once, but she writes like someone who understands that multiple marriages need not be evidence of instability, shallowness, or moral uncertainty. Again, she understands families, the relationships among adults and offspring that constitute them, and the work needed to keep them from breaking apart.

Still, the book is long-winded, a bit repetitious and sometimes fails to sustain interest ... until we get pretty far into the last hundred pages. Then it explodes! With the turn of a page, Come Home turns into a very different book, a thriller rather than a tale of mundane domestic complications and more or less interesting commonplace events, with only a young girl's histrionic assertion and vague clues that something sinister may be going on.

In spite of my reservations about Come Home, I enjoyed reading it, though it's more of a time-filler than a page-turner. Most readers won't regret taking the time finish it, but if they're familiar with Scottoline's other work, and it's as good as advertised, they may be a bit disappointed.
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