Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Painted Table by Suzanne Field

The Painted Table
by Suzanne Field
Available December 2013
Thomas Nelson
320 pages

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About the Book
A beautiful heirloom ingrained with family memory has become a totem of a life Saffee would rather forget—a childhood disrupted by her mother’s mental illness. 

Saffee does not want the table. By the time she inherits the object of her mother’s obsession, the surface is thick with haphazard layers of paint, and heavy with unsettling memories.

After a childhood spent watching her mother slide steadily into insanity, painting and re-painting the ancient table, Saffee has come to fear that seeds of psychosis may lie dormant within her. But as an adult with a family of her own, Saffee must confront her mother’s torment if she wants to defend herself against it.

Traversing four generations over the course of a century, The Painted Table is an epic portrait of inherited memory, proclivity, and guilt. It is a sprawling narrative affirmation that a family artifact—like a family member—can bear the marks of one’s entire past . . . as well as intimations of one’s redemption.

My Thoughts
The Painted Table by Suzanne Field was different than what I was expecting. To be honest, I'm not sure what I was expecting. I got totally lost in the first few chapters. The adult characters were alternately called by their given name and then by their "parent" name, and the point of view changed often. Several chapters in, it settled down some, but I really struggled to get into the story. Additionally, the writing style was disjointed. While this helped me get into the mindset of someone with mental illness, it was very difficult to read. As I pushed through, I found myself interested in learning the rest of the story, though. So it wasn't an easy read, but one I wanted to finish, if that makes sense. Overall, I thought Field did a good job of telling a unique story, even if the writing style didn't exactly appeal to me. [3 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Suzanne Field, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, has taught English as a Second Language in China, Ukraine, and Hawaii. She has also been a magazine editor and home-school teacher. She and her husband have five children and divide their time between Kansas and Hawaii where she is a tutor and mentor.

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