Friday, July 8, 2011

Family by Micol Ostow

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:

i have always been broken.
i could have. died.
and maybe it would have been better if i had.

It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs. And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go.

Told in episodic verse, family is a fictionalized exploration of cult dynamics, loosely based on the Manson Family murders of 1969. It is an unflinching look at people who are born broken, and the lengths they’ll go to to make themselves “whole” again.

Intense and startling yet compelling, Micol Ostow’s Family is one of kind. It is dark and dreary yet that did not stop me from turning the pages in rapid speed, as this one book that you cannot put down once you have started it.

Melinda Jensen has never had an easy life. From a touchy “uncle” Jack to a mother who never cared enough, Melinda has had nearly no one to turn to in her past seventeen years of life. Lost beyond control, Melinda sets out to San Francisco with little to nothing, hoping that this time she will be able to find herself, or at least a part of herself. In San Francisco, she meets Henry, a man not that much older than her. He promises her a family, something she’s always desired, and in an instant she agrees, not knowing this new path will test her in ways unimaginable, because this family not only shares everything, but they also contain some intense people. However, when she is faced with an ultimate dilemma, will Melinda be able to save herself before it’s too late, or will she become yet another one of Henry’s girls, brainwashed with little to nothing to call their own?

Prior to reading Family, I had only read two books by Ostow, Golden Girl and 30 Guys in 30 Days, two books that were the definition of light, fluffy reads, so to say this book, her newest one, was different would be a serious understatement. However, it was an interesting change to say the least.

For one, the characters in this are crazy, but in a way that is realistic given that they are part of a cult. As mentioned above, Melinda is a girl lost beyond repair. She has been hurt in countless ways, and for her, Henry’s promise was a solution to it all. In some ways I can see why she would stay, why she and the all others involved would let themselves become victim to Henry as well as each other, because the characters in this are all “misfits” lost to themselves and the world. So while all I wanted to throughout the novel was yell “run!” to Melinda, I understood, and more importantly, I rooted for her to see the light, to see that she could find help, that she still at the world at her fingertips.

However, what made this read the compelling read it was the fact that it was told in episodic verse. Every page was sparse yet it completely presented the world contained in a three dimensional way. Most importantly, Ostow didn’t shy away from the gritty details that are usual associated with these type of things, and while it made Family a heard read at times, it made the novel all the more realistic and eye-opening so to say.

The only aspect of this novel that I was not big on was the last portion of the novel. It moved an extremely fast paced and when everything was finally said and done, I felt like it was missing something, more closure perhaps. Nonetheless, I can understand why it was that way.

Intense and unique, Micol Ostow’s Family is not for the faint-hearted. It is a crazy novel, and the ending is even crazier, but I am sure fans of gritty fiction, such as Ellen Hopkins’s books, will surely like this one.

Grade: B+

Family is now out!

Source: Publicity Firm- thanks Goodman Media!

To find out more about Micol and her books, be sure to visit her website and twitter

1 comment:

  1. I got this book at BEA and am very happy to know that it's good! I also read Goldengirl and liked it! Although I don't remember it much =P


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