Monday, March 29, 2010
Good Harbour - A Review
Good Harbor is the long stretch of Cape Ann beach where two women friends walk and talk, sharing their personal histories and learning life's lessons from each other. Kathleen Levine, a longtime resident of Gloucester, Massachusetts, is maternal and steady, a devoted children's librarian, a convert to Judaism, and mother to two grown sons. When her serene life is thrown into turmoil by a diagnosis of breast cancer at fifty-nine, painful past secrets emerge and she desperately needs a friend. Forty-two-year-old Joyce Tabachnik is a sharp-witted freelance writer who is also at a fragile point in her life. She's come to Gloucester to follow her literary aspirations, but realizes that her husband and young daughter are becoming increasingly distant. Together, Kathleen and Joyce forge a once-in-a-lifetime bond and help each other to confront scars left by old emotional wounds.
Essentially, this story is about the power of friendship, no matter the age it is forged and how friendships can help you through some of the most difficult periods. I loved both characters in the story. I identified with Kathleen because she was steady and mature but most of all she was strong. Even in her most difficult times, she did not complain or show signs that she was hurt. I loved Joyce because she was the wise crack; the sarcastic friend who always knew what to say to make you laugh. They were like Ying and Yang; each having something that the other one desired. I think making Good Harbour the focal point of the story contributed to the ease and comfort of their relationship and what they felt around each other.
Having said that i felt like the author rushed into the connection between some of the main characters; like that between Kathleen and Joyce. They met and instantaneously hit it off and that felt a bit too cliche' and unrealistic, especially since Kathleen's character was kind of guarded throughout the entire book. Another example is the relationship between Patrick and Joyce. I would have love to read a little more into that story, even though it turned out to be a fluke.
There was a nice build up to the story. Kathleen had a lot of unspoken issues that she had to resolve and the author made sure to address each one of them at the closing of the book. Although it occurred in the last few pages of the book it kinda balanced the book and gave it a sort of emotional climax at the end. Joyce though was real and raw. Sometimes her story didn't quite resonate with me but she did add some great humor to the piece.
Diamant knows how to use simple human emotions to a character's advantage or disadvantage and for that i really enjoyed the book. It reminded me of the importance of my two leading ladies and how they help to make my life just a tad bit better; by listening and by sometimes saying, that sucks!
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