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Sleepwalking in Daylight Hardcover – February 24, 2009
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Flock's downer latest takes a glimpse inside a dysfunctional and affluent Chicago family. Samantha Friedman is an unhappy stay-at-home mother of three and wife to her distant and despondent husband, Bob. Their adopted 17-year-old daughter, Cammy, as unhappy as her mother, has found goth, drugs and sex. The unhappy flailings of the two provide the narrative momentum; Cammy's mopey journals (which include, for better or for worse, her poetry) document her pain and reckless behavior, and Samantha's narration explores her affair with a married man. When Cammy learns the truth about her birth mother and the circumstances of her adoption, she sinks further into despair, and Samantha attempts to connect with her while teetering on the brink of abandoning her marriage. Flock's plot is heavy on the sorrow, though there's a requisitely redemptive ending to lighten the familiar and melancholy arc. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In her fourth novel, popular Flock once again focuses on a dysfunctional family, this time the Friedmans of Chicago: Bob, a sports-shoe designer; his wife, Samantha; and 16-year-old Cammy and her 8-year-old twin brothers. Bob and Sam adopted Cammy when they thought they were infertile; now in the midst of her rebellious teenage years, Cammy is cutting class, smoking pot, having indiscriminate sex, and, above all, feeling like an outcast in her own family. Flock draws astute parallels between the alienated Cammy and Sam—living in a sexless marriage, bored with driving to endless soccer practices, and “sick of being the devoted mom.” Sam falls into a somewhat trite relationship with a very attentive married man—consisting mostly of Starbucks coffee dates and “meaningful” conversations. Caught up in her new life, Sam fails to realize the extent of Cammy’s self-destructive behavior, with tragic results. Not quite as original a plot as Flock’s earlier novels, but still filled with perceptive, dead-on insights into both teenage angst and the common pitfalls of marriage in the middle years. --Deborah Donovan
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Since finding out she was adopted, seventeen-year-old Cammy Friedman has felt like an outsider. Unwilling to reach out to the parents she once adored, she shields herself behind the black clothing and begins to drift into dangerous territory with questionable friends and risky behavior.
Mother and daughter indulge in their own respective escapism- for Sam, clandestine coffee dates with a handsome stranger, fueled by the desire to feel something; for Cammy, a furtive search for her birth mother punctuated by sex, pills, and the need to feel absolutely nothing- until a pivotal moment in an otherwise average day alters their relationships forever.
This is a cautionary tale for parents and spouses to be present and to nurture those you love, because relationships and life are so very fragile. Sometimes when wounded people get together the damage multiplies. These wounded characters are mostly sympathetic, although occasionally aggravating in their self-centeredness and carelessness. Still, it's easy to see how boredom, dissatisfaction and grief can drive wedges and isolate us from things that require vigilance.
Told half from a mother's point of view and half from her teenage daughter's, strong dialogue, narrative and attention to detail reveal these characters' pain, confusion and loneliness. As a mother I wanted to shake this mom out of her malaise and fast. How could she not see that she was losing her daughter? At times I wanted to scream at her to get a grip and do something. Cammy was so lost and needed someone who she felt like she belongs and no one could give her that. At the same time, I could see how Sam's system of denial was working for her and had to ask myself, "What am I missing when I should be paying attention?" What do I miss in my children's world when I am busy with all of the duties of a stay at home mom? I can also understand how Sam felt that she was drifting and unsure of how her life was supposed to turn out.
The one critical point I have is that I think more time should have been devoted to Bob, the father. We know he was detached, depressed, and felt nothing, but he was only described by Cammy and Sam, who were certainly unreliable narrators for him since they were so unhappy themselves. I would have liked to hear what his inner thoughts were and where he really "was" in the story.
This is a sad and depressing book that brought forth all kinds of emotions while I was reading, which is a sign of a good book. This novel also reaffirms that being a teenager in today's world can be dangerous and scary business, and parents need to be present even when the going gets tough. Truly a page turner. 4 stars!