All Fall Down

Megan Hart. Mira, $14.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1306-9
Fans of melodrama will cleave to Hart’s latest, which is inspired by the Jonestown massacre and the Peoples Temple cult. Sunshine (“Sunny”), 19, and her three children, who have spent their lives at the Family of Superior Bliss religious compound, are forced by Sunny’s mother to leave. The four of them show up on the doorstep of Sunny’s birth father Christopher, and soon learn that those remaining at the compound have died in a mass suicide. The world of the “Family” had questionable practices: male leaders had their pick of women as young as 15 to bear their children and vie for being “the true wife”; children and adults were often humiliated or brutally punished. Christopher, meanwhile, had no idea he had a daughter with his first wife, let alone three grandchildren. His current wife, Liesel, desperate to have children of her own, suddenly finds herself saddled ostensibly with four of them and now must confront the realities of parenthood. An interesting set-up, but unfortunately, the numerous iterations of Liesel’s discontent prove predictable and whiny. Though Hart (Precious and Fragile Things) works with an unusual story line, the novel lacks the depth that could have yielded a thought-provoking read. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 12/27/2011
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4592-1901-4
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