Thursday, August 2, 2012
Review: The Language of Sisters by Amy Hatvany
Nicole Hunter has been distancing herself from her family for the past ten years, living in San Francisco with a man she is not sure she would marry. Nicole is a registered therapist, but when she decides her own life is too complicated to start offering others advice, she chooses to become a baker. Nicole is forced to confront her past, when she hears that her severely disabled sister Jenny, was raped while institutionalized and is now pregnant. Nichole and her sister have always been close, but Nicole’s guilt has kept her away from her sister for far too long. Nichole returns home, and demands that she take care of her sister until she gives birth. Returning home leaves Nichole seeking answers from her mother.
The Language of Sisters is another beautifully written story by Amy Hatvany. She consistently writes stories that tear at your heart and leave readers rooting for the characters. Hatvany writes about topics that are difficult but real, and forces readers to think about people in those situations.
Nicole is a very interesting character. She doesn’t feel settled in her life, but she’s reluctant to go home. After so much time has passed, it gets easier to stay away and harder to return. She loves her sister, but her relationship with her mother causes her to remain distant. Nicole’s childhood revolved around her sister, her mother and her were the primary caretakers. Jenny’s unknown disability left her helpless and mute, their mother spent so much time trying to cure Jenny and get answers that Nicole felt left behind. Their father was abusive towards Jenny, resorting to physical violence when he became overwhelmed. He demanded that she be institutionalized. When Nichole’s mother agrees to have Jenny placed, it’s becomes a critical reason why their relationship becomes even more strained. How can a mother choose an abusive husband over their helpless child?
There is a lot that can be discussed with this novel and it would make a great book club read. All of Amy Hatvany’s books have remained with me long after I closed the books. She creates stories that cause readers to rethink a difficult situation, and be able to put themselves in those shoes. Her stories give readers a sense of the everyday lives and relationships of the characters, strong secondary characters are well developed and cement the story. I highly recommend all of Amy Hatvany’s books. A great writer is even better when they can continually awe readers.