Friday, March 15, 2013

Silver Orphan - A social commentary on a heartbreaking fact of life that all to many choose to ignore

Silver OrphanSilver Orphan by Martine Lacombe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a galley copy of this novel for my review.

Simply put, this book packs a punch. Enough so that it is 1:00am on a weeknight and instead of sleeping as I should be, I am sitting in front of the computer because I'm pretty sure I will not be able to sleep until I write something down.

With each passing year, more Americans are reaching their golden years, and many of them without friends or family. Whether this is due to geographic separation, a lack of family members who care, or a lack of family members at all, the result is the same - these seniors who have often worked hard and cared even harder for their families throughout their lives are now alone. This is a heartbreaking subject, and one that Martine Lacombe tackles with grace.

Part story of unlikely friendship and changing self awareness, part history lesson and social commentary, this novel takes us rhythmically through 3 time periods - the younger life of first generation Italian-American Frank Moretti, the time of developing friendship between him and raging narcissist Brooke Blake, and the present day timeline of Brooke searching for the family of her lost friend following his death. The vastly different viewpoints and expectations of themselves, each other and the world were a central piece to this novel, and these 3 alternating time periods allowed the authors points to come through by comparison rather than coming across as preachy or overly analytical. This novel is well written, thoughtful and poignant.

There are only 2 pieces that held this novel back from 5* for me. (view spoiler)[ First, I can't bring myself to fully believe that Brooke truly changed. Yes, we see her reaching out and given up her precious time to others in the end, but that still does not cancel out the fact that she was utterly irritated at the thought of having to deal with Frank's remains rather than being saddened by his passing, despite showing him such love and care so soon before his death. Second, I am sad to not know more of Sofia's story, or that of Frank's son and granddaughter after Brooke discovers his family. While this piece of the puzzle does serve excellent commentary in terms of apathetic family members, I do so wish we had learned more of the story. (hide spoiler)]

Overall though, an excellent and worthy read, and I applaud Martine Lacombe for tackling this equally heartwarming and heartbreaking story!

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