Monday, July 4, 2011

Be Mine by Laura Kasischke

I am really not into reading books until Andrei inspired me to. This would be my second book and my second book review (to follow after I finish reading the book).

Sherry Seymour, a mid-life wife, is suddenly the occasion of much attention when she begins receiving mysterious love notes, starting with one on Valentine’s Day that says simply “Be Mine.” Later, the notes continue to arrive in her mailbox at work, a local community college.
With no clue as to the author of the notes, Sherry confides in her husband, who is excited by the idea that his wife is the cause of such intense feelings in another. Even friends at work notice the subtle changes in Sherry. Then a friend of Sherry’s son suggests the identity of the man behind the missives, an attractive machine-shop teacher.
Once the lady in question learns the identity of her secret admirer, all hell breaks loose as she is drawn nearer to his easy seduction, tumbling into an ill-conceived affair out of boredom and the urging of her husband, Jon, who thinks the romance will spice up their marriage. The question, is the husband serious or indulging in his own fantasy to spice up a mundane, if very comfortable, union?
Of course, life is never this simple nor husbands so agreeable, and Sherry runs into conflict soon enough when Jon asks her to bring her lover home. After much discussion, Sherry agrees to Jon’s demands, hoping her acquiescence will put matters to rest. Of course the lover has no intention of going anywhere, ever more possessive.
When Sherry’s son comes home from college in California, he quickly sees what his mother is up to and demands that she stop at once. Unfortunately, the son has his facts somewhat confused, and the plot becomes even more bizarre. Acting the fool with very little introspection, save some internal dialog about empty nest syndrome, marital boredom and her own self-importance, Sherry finds herself in an untenable situation.
Guilt makes the mind do strange things, and Sherry is adept at fueling the fires of her own paranoia, constantly second-guessing, giving in to those pesky assumptions that are her undoing. She asks rhetorical question after question, an obvious plot device, but never the right one.
Shunning the dark edginess that might have worked in a more courageous writer, the author challenges herself not a whit, opting for pure escapism, a wild romance with a dark, irresistible rouĂ© instead of the ordinary man with a slight beer belly and a friendly smile. Sherry Seymour, teacher of English lit, go back to school for a refresher course.The surprise ending is a febrile attempt to tweak the plot line but is jarring in the context of the rest of the story (looking through this author’s other titles, it seems, such twists are also familiar plot devices).
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