Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"The Last Beach Bungalow"

By Jennie Nash
265 pages
Published February 2008 by Penguin Publishing
Source: Library

Free-lance writer April Newman has just found out that she is now five years cancer free. She should be celebrating. But April could not feel less like celebrating. She has yet to come to terms with her body, her marriage seems to be slipping away, she's dealing with a teen-aged daughter and the fabulous home her husband is building for them feels all wrong to April. Then, quite by chance, April finds that the last beach bungalow in Redondo Beach is for sale and becomes obsessed with it.

This book is about so much more than a house. It's really about the journey April takes to redefine her life after cancer but it's a journey that any woman can relate to. Along the way, the articles April is writing help her explore what she's going through as does a trip to the spa, and even a couple of shopping trips. As cool as the bungalow sounded, it was really just the symbol of an place April was trying to reach in herself, a place she would be able to reconcile the past and the present. The clerk in one of the stores says to April:

"Just that everyone is searching for peace, or seeing to pass it along, sometimes both at the same time, or both on the same day. No one ever gets to stop and be done with it. We're all in the mix, all the time."

As the mother of a teen-aged daughter, I really related to the point April and Jackie were at in their relationship.

"In the early years of parenting, you'll give anything for twenty minutes free and clear of your kids. You pray for nighttime, when the noise will stop, the hunger will stop, the accidents will stop, the incessant questions about the moon, the sky, the ocean, the cat next door, the cow on TV, the telephone and the toy in the bottom of the cereal box -- will stop. But in the teen years, you'll give anything for twenty minutes in the same room with your kids. You'll pay a ransom for a conversation, a bribe for just a little time."

There was much that spoke to me in this book. I found the characters to be very real, as well as the relationship between April and Rick (her husband) . I was very happy with the way this book ended and I would definitely recommend it.

13 comments:

  1. This sounds lovely. I would love to read it, following your review.

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  2. I loved this story Lisa. I was glad to see you did as well. Great review.

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  3. i got this from PBS recently...going to have to move it up on my stack to read! thanks for the review!

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  4. Glad you liked it! I remember that passage you quote and thought it captured much more than the quantity of words might suggest. Good writing.

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  5. Great review! I love the quote, too. I think I'll be adding this one to my wish list.

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  6. This has been on my to-read list for a while. May have to bump it up a notch! Great review!

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  7. Thanks for the review! Just got this one from Border's and now, after reading your review, am anxious to start it!!

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  8. Glad you liked this story. I really want to read this one. I had it out from the library a while back but didn't get to it. Since I've read her book The Only True Genius in the Family, I've wanted to read this one.

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  9. That passage you shared is very true. I often wait for the clock to hit 8pm so that I can get two seconds to breathe but then with the other kid, communication is beginning to be a bit of a challenge. A bit? Who am I kidding. It's a challenge!

    That said, I like a book that I can relate to.

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  10. Excellent review Lisa. I haven't heard of this book but it's going on my TBR list right now!

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  11. Looks like a very inspiring book! THanks for sharing.

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  12. This looks great! First time I've heard of it and your review will have me looking for it.

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  13. Lisa, you're amazing. You're like my perfect reader! You totally get me and what I'm trying to do. It's such a pleasure to read your reviews. :)

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