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BOOK REVIEW: THE CRADLE
BY PATRICK SOMERVILLE

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



Alternating chapters in Somerville's short novel, The Cradle, tells the story of two families through some emotional times in their lives. In an unusual, though somewhat expected ending, the two stories connect.

Matt and Marissa Bishop are expecting their first child. Marissa yearns to have the cradle that was hers when she was a baby. Unfortunately, when her mother left, so did the cradle. Marissa convinces Matt to hunt down the cradle for her. At the same time that Matt begins his journey tracking the cradle, Renee and Bill Owen are preparing to send their only child, Adam, off to Iraq. They had planned a trip to Hawaii, but when Adam enlisted Renee balks at going on the long planned trip.

Matt's tale is the more interesting of the two. While traveling around the Midwest seeking the cradle, he encounters some of the most bizarre characters who ask him to do some pretty odd things, making whole journey a little hard to believe. To start with, readers are led to believe the Bishops are on a tight budget, with Matt a shift worker at a local chemical plant. That he is able to afford both monetarily and time off from work to continue extending his trip as he does, is not likely. That he didn't turn around and leave any of the oddball folks he met along the way is mind boggling. How he responds to the various people he meets and what they ask of him stretches believability quite a bit, but it does make a fairly interesting story.

The Owen's story focuses mostly on Renee. Renee is not a happy person. Why? As the story moves along we discover, not all together surprisingly, that Renee has a long buried secret. After accidentally taking the wrong medicine she suddenly tells Bill the whole story. Readers may be empathic toward Renee, but her story is fairly depressing. Which brings me to my primary problem with this book . There is not one character that I liked or really cared about in this book.

Not one. The set up of both stories is fairly straight forward. Early on readers will probably figure out what the outcome will be at least in a general sense. However, the journeys of both families are fraught with twists and turns that left this reader wondering if I was missing the bigger picture. Was this book meant to be a symbolic journey of sorts? If it was, I missed it.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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