Island Girl

Lynda Simmons, Berkley, $15 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-425-23724-3
Canadian novelist Simmons (Getting Rid of Rosie) returns with a real weeper. At 55, Ward Island hair stylist Ruby Donaldson has enjoyed a bohemian life full of romance and adventure. But early-onset Alzheimer's, or "Big Al" as she calls it, is a tough diagnosis to accept. She worries about what will happen to Grace, her 20-something daughter who has recently moved back home, seeing the island as a safe refuge after a personal tragedy. Ruby's older daughter, Liz, is an alcoholic who left home for Toronto's more hectic offerings, her exact whereabouts unknown. But Ruby, who has no intention of going through Alzheimer's full debilitation, needs to find Liz and reconnect; she wants someone to look after Grace when she's gone. Simmons exhibits an exquisitely deft understanding of the extraordinary difficulties that unite a family, and her portrayals of the three women, told in alternating first-person chapters, enable satisfying connections with each. Ruby's tender ex, a father figure to both Liz and Grace, and his grumpy goth 12-year-old daughter, are also well-drawn, helping alleviate the novel's compounding sorrow. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/18/2010
Release date: 12/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-101-44569-3
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