Wednesday, November 21, 2007
D'Amour Road -- Sigrid Macdonald
Lulu Enterprises, Inc. 2005
This is an important book. Emotionally, it's not an easy read, as it stirs up several complicated emotions at once: fear of violence, fear of being unacceptable, fear of losing something one has yet to even grasp, fear of being alone after shedding an uncomfortable, yet familiar existence. All this, served up with a side order of harsh reality and a dash of denial.
As I read this book, the details of the everyday life of an ordinary woman had the effect of placing me firmly in the main character's shoes. Tara Richards is inherently known by every woman who has gotten up in the morning and looked in the mirror. Her unremarkable life was contrasted with the abrasive pain of having maybe lost a close friend in the worst way possible, and the confounding mental haze that comes with not actually knowing. It's a strange experience, reaching for normalcy, trying to deal with the mundane, while something so shocking has happened that it pokes holes in a person's integrity, letting so many emotions slowly bleed out, perhaps leading to actions a person might not normally have undertook, and ultimately to recoiling from the inevitable slap of reality when the consequences of those actions comes.
As I read about Tara Richards' struggle to find her missing, and possibly murdered best friend, I wondered if enough had been done. Or if Tara had hesitated for too long. Or if Tara had failed because she had tried to promote fairness at the expense of pure instinct. Or if she had been selfish, allowing herself to be distracted from her crusade by things that might have been the manifestations of denial. Yet after reading the novel, it's fully apparent that without being psychic, there was not much else she could have done.
In the epilogue, the author makes a few statements that helped my mind settle after I had finished the story:
"This book is not a mystery; it is not a whodunit. It is a story about what people experience when they go through the shock of losing someone, and the helplessness, rage, and fear that they feel knowing that they may never see that person again . . . How do we maintain the presumption of innocence without putting ourselves in danger by bonding with a killer?"
The book is dedicated to Louise Ellis, murdered April 1995.