Books to put on your “Must Read” list

Written By: sherridaley - • •

I have never read two books in a row with characters who did something so mind-bogglingly unforgivable that I had a hard believing they could live with themselves.  In Apology by Jon Pineda, fourteen-year-old Mario destroys an entire family with a single toss of a football, runs away, and in a remarkable example of restraint and almost despicable self-defense, keeps his mouth shut while the world of the people he supposedly loves falls apart around him.

He’s not a bad boy.  You know that up front.  Who wouldn’t dare somebody’s stupid sister to jump across a hole in the ground of a construction site?  It’s not the childish game of I-dare-you that caused me to go away shaking my head every time I set down the book; it was his silence and then his resolve to make something out of himself, as though that would make up for what he had done and what he had allowed to happen by not telling the truth.

Not that he lied. He didn’t.  He just didn’t come forward with the truth when others were incapable of defending themselves or doing anything except apologize.  Mario’s apology came twenty years too late to be of any good. It was as though he thought that his good work as a pediatric heart surgeon would make up for everything.

I don’t think it did, and although there was very little in the book to tell me what the other characters in the book felt, I don’t think it worked for them, either.  But what could they do?  What was done was done.

In Ghost Moths by Michele Forbes, it was Katherine’s stunning selfishness that I had a hard time stomaching.  I loved the passion that consumed her — I have always been a big fan of passion — and I understand a woman choosing stability and constancy over passion. Her dilemma intrigued me but her choices were slapdash and silly and thoughtless.

She was cruel in her carelessness, and that I could not forgive, no matter what a good wife and mother she became, and a readers would be hard put to find fault with her as a mother. Backyard fairs, and castles made of sheets over clotheslines, and games for the back seat of the car on long trips. She couldn’t be better.

But like Mario, she held onto her secrets.  Unlike Mario, keeping silent did not make things worse. Frankly, they couldn’t get any worse, and when things unravel at the end of the book, I felt like she deserved it.  Her husband had secrets, too. She will never be forgiven, and he won’t be, either — too late for that.

It appeared that Mario got off scott-free. Not so much Katherine.  It’s been a long time since I have read a book I enjoyed as much as these two, setting them down, still wondering about the characters and wishing I knew just a little more.



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  1. Ginny says:

    Which one did you like best or recommend reading first?

  2. Post Brothers…

    Books to put on your “Must Read” list «…

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