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The Kindness of Strangers Paperback – January 2, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
March 16, 2007
Rating: 4 Stars
I actually read this book last year, but never got around to doing the amazon review. KINDNESS OF STRANGERS was one of my favorite books from 2006, a book that some will find the subject matter a little hard to take. It centers on one family, and a boy that they take in because his parents are accused of sexually abusing him. The story is something out of today's sordid headlines, but I felt the author did a good job at telling the story and keeping the focus on the family and the boy, and not on the actual acts that were committed on the boy and many others.
The story begins in the present in happier times. But then the reader is taken back to the past with the story of Jordan, the young boy that is being abused, as well as the story of Sarah Laden and her family, and how they cope with the death of their father. They are already going through a lot before they take in Jordan, a boy they had known for a long time but never knew what went on behind closed doors.
What makes things worse is that Sarah had been best friends with the next door neighbors, and to learn of the possibility of sexual abuse was something Sarah refused to believe.
THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS was such an engaging novel that I finished it one day. The viewpoints alternate between various characters, giving the reader different sides to the story. Well-written with characters that felt realistic and three dimensional, I highly recommend this book.
Please don't avoid this book because of its disturbing subject matter. THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS is well worth it.
Another reviewer complained about time inconsistencies, which I have re-checked in the first edition copy at hand. The reviewer apparently didn't realize that the narrator was speaking from a perspective in the future in the opening chapter, which takes place some 12 years after the main plot events. As John Irving wrote, "...you should either stop reading books, or try a lot harder. "