She Poured Out Her Heart

Jean Thompson. Penguin/Blue Rider, $27 (432p) ISBN 978-0-399-57381-1
National Book Award–finalist Thompson (Who Do You Love) illustrates the sometimes-ugly complexities of women’s friendships in an account of a decades-long relationship between two very different women. After graduation, college friends Jane and Bonnie quickly settle into the roles they were seemingly born to play: Bonnie becomes a supportive wife to her medical student husband, Eric, and a supermom to their two children, while Bonnie continues her pattern of sleeping with all the wrong men and drinking too much while still excelling professionally. But both of them have secrets: Bonnie longs for the kind of domestic stability Jane (supposedly) has, while Jane dreads sex and welcomes occasional episodes in which her mind goes blank. A particularly troubling mental break for Jane creates new stresses on her marriage and her friendship with Bonnie, leading to further tension. The novel’s spiritual overtones offer an unconventional outlook on love and transcendence, but ultimately this too-baggy novel lacks narrative focus, attempting to delve into too many aspects of personal histories and motivations (particularly Bonnie’s) while failing to sustain a revenge plot, one that also happens to be hard to believe. Nevertheless, Thompson’s many fans will still find moments of clarity and insight in this parallel character study. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2016
Release date: 05/31/2016
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 619 pages - 978-1-4104-9162-6
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-399-57382-8
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