Life with Darwin CL

Molly Best Tinsley, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $19.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-395-57785-1
Tinsley's enchanting first novel is a dazzling blend of the exotic and the ordinary. Hannah Worden was raised in the Ecuadoran jungle with an Indian tribe whose men killed her missionary father and then destroyed themselves in an internecine battle. Hannah's mother, also a missionary, stayed to convert the women and children among whom Hannah lived until she reached puberty and was sent back to the States to a (truly primitive) fundamentalist Christian school. In college in the 1960s, Hannah falls in love with radical activist Darwin Charles, whom she marries when she becomes pregnant. Darwin leaves the Movement and takes an environmental job in Washington, D.C., where he and Hannah live with their four children in a planned community. Despite Hannah's efforts (under duress, she turns to baking), little is normal or harmonious in her family: Darwin, distant and unfaithful, still smokes marijuana; 13-year-old Jeremy is unpopular and miserable; younger brother Matthew, enamored of violence, sees a psychologist; little Benjamin is wary and hyper; the youngest, Rachel, is self-possessed and critical. Struggling to keep herself and her family whole, Hannah is impelled on a journey of self-discovery--unpredictably aided by her son's therapist and the teacher of her human development class--during which she gradually connects the peculiarities of her past with her present needs. In Tinsley's prose, full of humor, grace and extraordinary images, Hannah's story is irresistible. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
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