Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Reads: The Echomaker

Quick Plot Summary Mark, a Nebraska boy, sidesteps death when his vehicle spins out of control on a desolate highway. His sister, Karen is quick to come to his aide. In his long recovery, he develops Capgras syndrome, which causes him to believe that Karen has been replaced with a body double. As Karen struggles to aide his recovery, she enlists the help of a renowned psychologist/author and befriends Mark's extremely capable nursing home assistant. As a group, Mark and his closest loves struggle to redefine their relationships and rebuild their pasts together.

My Thoughts Ultimately, I found this book extremely frustrating and slow moving. While I was interested in the characters' lives, I felt their stories could have been condensed. The ending, in particular, was nauseating. After nearly 300 meandering narrative/descriptive pages, the story ended a little too tidily and without much descending action. It was abrupt, jerky, and the pages of crane stories mixed in disrupted the flow of the book as a whole. I had heard great things about Richard Powers' writing, but overall, I don't think I'll be revisiting his work.

Take Aways While I didn't love the story, I am indebted to this book for making me think about relationships. How much of our relationships with the people we love most are built on a shared past? How much do we lose overall when the ones we love are physically present, but our shared pasts have vanished? The day I finished this movie, I ventured out with some gal pals to go see The Vow (Channing Tatum and the always adorable Rachel McAdams- wife has car accident, loses all memory of husband but not memories of people from 5 years ago), which plays on very similar themes in a more suspense-laden way.

Kev and I have known each other for thirteen years. During that time, our relationships with one another have morphed from friends, to friends with benefits. From confidants to co-conspirators. Somehow, I feel that if one of us were to lose the memory of one of those stages, that the foundation for our relationship would crumble, leaving us without routines and expectations for one another. On another level, my relationships with my siblings have evolved over time- from that of a bossy older sister dominating, to a partnership where we challenge each other's ideas, listen to each other's opinions and work together to take our family into a new generation. If they suddenly became convinced that I was a stranger out to kill them, my life would lose some of the very people who have made me who I am today.

While The Echomaker was a dud of a plot, the ideas behind it could be masterful. As a result of reading this, I'm definitely going to make sure to reach out to my siblings and stay in closer contact with them when we are not together. You never know what the future might bring.

What are you reading this weekend? I've moved on to Girls Don't Poop by Jen Ashton.

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