Wednesday, December 12, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "Love Walked In"

Love Walked In
By Marisa de los Santos
Copyright 2006
Penguin Books, Ltd.
Adult Fiction

I hate stories with an "ick" factor.  And this wasn't your typical "ick" either.  This is a story about Cornelia Brown who is waiting for her prince to ride in on a white horse.  Well, more specifically, she is waiting for Cary Grant to show up in her life.  Fixated with the old, classic love story movies, Cornelia's dates just never seem to measure up.  That is, until Martin Grace enters her life.  Not only is he the spitting image of Cary Grant, but he is a true gentleman besides! 

Cornelia thinks she is in love, but there's just something that's not quite right. 

In the meantime, the story flashes to 11-year-old Clare Hobbes.  Clare's mother is slipping deeper and deeper into psychosis every day until Clare is faced with the realization that her mother can no longer care for her.  Estranged from her uncaring and mostly absentee father, Clare doesn't feel she has anywhere to turn.  When she realizes things have become dire, Clare makes a desperate phone call to her father to tell him what is going on.  He doesn't listen and casts her worries aside, as Clare had expected he would.  So Clare makes a plan.  She creates lists for how to make it through each day so that no one finds out what is going on and takes her away from her mother.  She manages for quite some time, but then her mother takes off, abandoning her completely, and her father is the only one to turn to. 

Clare's father, of course, has no clue how to handle the situation, and even less clue how to comfort Clare over the loss of her mother and the fact that he had ignored her previous concerns.  It is only when her father's girlfriend Cornelia steps in and holds her during her tears that Clare finally feels safe. 

Cornelia, of course, cannot understand why Martin has no connection with his child, especially when she falls in love with her within minutes.  And frankly, as the reader, I couldn't understand it either.  I felt decidedly uncomfortable with the thought that there are parents out there who feel absolutely no connection with their child at all, and what can happen as a result of that.  Ick. 

The ending does make up for some of the ickiness, but I was definitely uncomfortable reading some of the passages in the book.  As a parent of an 11-year-old, I was just sickened at the thought of such a young child feeling so unloved and having to be so grown up.

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