Evening News: A Novel by Marly Swick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What do you do when your child does the unforgivable? Giselle is a returning college student on her second marriage; she has a nine year old son from her first marriage, and a nearly two year old little girl with her second husband. One day while she studies in the back yard and her daughter plays in her wading pool, her son goes next door to play with his friend. The friend knows where his father keeps his new pistol, and he pilfers the key to get it out. He insists that his friend handle it, and, reluctantly, he does. As he is aiming it at a row of trees, pretending to be hunting with his father, two things happen: the phone rings, startling him, and his friend, thinking he hears his mother coming upstairs, grabs for the gun. It goes off, and kills the little girl in her wading pool.
Suddenly, Giselle's world is turned into a nightmare. She's lost her baby daughter. Her husband has lost his only biological child, and blames Teddy, her son. She herself is torn between being furious with her son and still being his mother, still loving him. Teddy, for his part, must live with having caused the death of the little sister he adored.
Swick's prose is easy to read, but because of the unflinching treatment of such a dark storyline, this is no easy book to read. However, the author hits every note true, and brings these characters to vivid life, flaws and all. Giselle had, like most people, thought that things like this only happen to people you see on the evening news. Now it has happened to her, and nothing will ever be the same.
I'll be looking for more by Ms. Swick, and I absolutely recommend this novel, provided the reader understands that it's no day in the park to read because of the subject matter.
PS--this novel came out in 1999, but the only thing dated about it is that nobody has a cell phone, and in a couple of scenes, they chase around looking for a pay phone.
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