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Review-"White Picket Fences"

Review-"White Picket Fences" by Susan Meissner
WaterBrook Press a division of Random House
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400074570&ref=externallink_wbp_whitepicketfences_sec_0916_01
Published 2009, 358 pages
Book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.


The title "White Picket Fences" has the pretense that it is a book about a perfect little family that lives behind a white picket fence. 
Appearances, that which is displayed on the exterior to the outward world, but it can be a facade and behind it is masked a deceptive appearance.
The Janvier family consists of parents Neil and Amanda, and their son Chase and daughter Delcey. They live in a beautiful home and in a beautiful neighborhood in southern California. The parents have great jobs and their two children are intelligent and talented. As the story unfolds the layers begin to peel off of their lives, and the reader begins to see that all is not a white picket fence world for them.
Amanda's brother has disappeared and his teenage daughter Tally comes to live with the Janvier family. There is a tenseness in the family with this decision to let Tally come live with them. Chase, age 17, is plagued by a house fire that he was in as a child. Tally and Chase bond, and they work together on a school project  interviewing two Holocaust survivors. 



I felt this was an amazing book that describes a perfect picture for many of us that have experienced a break down in communication, assumptions, trying to ignore serious issues that need to be resolved, and minimizing the threats that invade our lives and families. 
It is those secrets that we do not talk about, that we ignore, the so-called elephant in the room that everyone is ignoring. The elephant is not going to go away, it must be faced, and dealt with.

When the book first began I was not enthusiastic about the storyline, but as I turned the pages I then realized that a storm was brewing. 
I foresaw that something would eventually happen that would be a dramatic climax. 
I felt the author did a marvelous job with the story, and in the personalities of the characters. 
I especially loved the characters that told their Holocaust stories.
Their stories are a reminder of the travesty of the Holocaust, and heroism of the people that survived. 

The characters that were teenagers: Chase, Delcey and Tally were true to life; in their need for privacy, emotions, insecurities, and awkwardness. 
The author did a splendid job in the carefully fluid movement of the story, not moving to hurriedly along, but in laying out each scene in order to build to the climax.

 

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