A Life of Bright Ideas

Sandra Kring. Bantam, $15 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-553-38682-0
In Kring’s long-awaited sequel to The Book of Bright Ideas, set in Vietnam-era smalltown Wisconsin and full of convoluted relationships, Winnalee Malone returns to her hometown of Dauber, and her best friend Evelyn Peters’s life, after a nine-year absence. Evelyn helps her father care for her younger brother, Boho, while pining for her friend Jesse, who is in the Army. When the sexually liberated, drug-taking Winnalee reappears, Evelyn is thrown for a loop. Soon, Winnalee’s mother, Freeda—who Winnalee for years had thought was her sister—shows up, too, bringing with her a shocking surprise for Evelyn: Winnalee’s infant daughter, whom she left with her mother to come to Dauber. Winnalee had hoped Evelyn’s mother could care for her child, not knowing that Evelyn’s mother is dead. After Winnalee and Evelyn take a trip to see Winnalee’s great-aunt Hannah, who raised her, Winnalee must confront her family history and face the responsibilities of motherhood. Though new readers will find it easy to empathize with—and even grow to love—Evelyn and Winnalee, the novel’s intricate relationships may be tough to follow. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 02/07/2012
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 265 pages - 978-0-553-90802-2
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