Verdict: In Leah’s Wake is a moving and engrossing examination of a family that is falling apart at the seams. A powerful read for teenagers and their parents.
Leah is a teenager who has suddenly lost herself. She doesn’t get along with her parents, she has been experimenting with drugs with a boyfriend who is on parole for dealing drugs. Her mom, a successful psychologist and dad are frazzled by their own failing relationship with one another and at a loss on how to deal with Leah’s antics.
Oh, yes, and there’s Justine, the younger sister/daughter who always gets the shaft when it comes to attention because she is cursed with being the darling and dependable child who does everything right. But, even Justine is not immune to the angst and turmoil that fester in Leah’s wake. As the family spirals downward, strangled by weeds of dysfunction and devastation, it looks like nothing will save them.
Giuliano Long’s knack for creating emotional conflict and contradiction resonates in her description of the relationships. For example, the relationship between the sisters – loving and caring but also helpless to improve one another’s situation; between Leah and her boyfriend, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble with drugs and crime, yet who Leah thinks can understand her better than her parents; as well as the relationship between the parents and their daughters – Justine’s mother responds to Justine’s furious ranting by getting out and baking rather than dealing with the issue at hand.
Author Giuliano Long does a very effective job capturing an environment of chaos, frustration and ineffectiveness with her short, choppy sentences and her cuts from one person’s perspective to another. The unproductive and pointless frenzy of the characters as they stumble about to make life better for themselves and one another can tear at the heart, making the fleeting moments of joy so much more bittersweet.
In Leah’s Wake is a moving and engrossing examination of a family that is falling apart at the seams. A powerful read for teenagers and their parents.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader
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