Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Sunflower Forest by Torey Hayden .

I read the rear cover of this novel in WH Smith...

Seventeen-year-old Lesley is a typical teenage girl: her worries revolve around boys, choosing the right college and bickering with her younger sister Megan. She adores her beautiful, captivating mother Mara, who tells evocative stories of her childhood in Hungary and Germany before the war. However, Mara has one memory of the past that she can never share...

As Lesley begins to uncover the horror of her mother's secret, their idyllic family life shatters around them, and Lesley realizes that her mother is not the person she thought she knew.

...Well, this 461 page book sounded an interesting mystery so I bought it. I thought it was a new book and the copyright is 2008 but it was actually first published in 1984. Still, having read it all, I just do not know why they have re-published this poor book. I found this novel slow, nothing was dramatic and there was no resolution at the end of this story. This whole tale is drawn out and written in a very long-winded style. I stopped caring about the characters as the plot is very shallow, the dialogue is poor, there is no special message to the reader and there are no strong opinions which makes this a very bland tale.

This novel is far fetched and I cannot believe this story could happen just as it was told. This story is unrealistic and although it is written in the first person, I could not develop any interest or liking for any of the main 6 characters. The most over-used word in this whole book is lichen as it is mentioned again and again, so much so that I began to groan every time I read it yet again.

I vote this book a MISS because it is such a poor read. I will not be buying any of her other 10 books. There is some mild humour in The Sunflower Forest that would not offend anyone but then this book does not inspire anyone either. So I will finish this post by quoting possibly the best part of this book from page 141...

One weekend afternoon when the sun had become hot, I took off my shirt while Paul and I were lying together in the grass out on Ladder Creek. Then he unhooked my bra. We had no blanket to lie on, so all along my back I could feel the damp, scratchy prairie grass. Paul, beside me, touched my breasts, moving his fingers around my nipples. It made me shiver with an electric sensation that I found too intense to be pleasurable, and spasmodically, I would jerk away from him when I couldn't tolerate it any longer. Paul unbuttoned his pants. Closing his eyes, he clutched me tight against him and rubbed his body against mine. I could smell his sweat. It was a pleasingly sexy odour that belonged with the smell of prairie grass and with the warmth of late March sun. Then suddenly I felt a spurt of wetness over my belly and I sat up abruptly. Paul laughed. Didn't I know what was going to happen? he asked and dropped back on the grass. Hadn't I realized he was going to come? Raised up on one elbow, I looked at the semen, creamy and white like liquid soap from the dispenser on the kitchen window ledge. I had never seen semen before and I hadn't known it was going to happen and for a moment I was tempted to deny my ignorance, feeling stupid for having been so surprised. But instead, I just giggled and fell back on the grass beside Paul and we laughed about it together.

When it was time to go, I wiped the semen off my stomach with my shirt. At home that night I examined the shirt, smelled the faintly musky odour. I meant to put it into the laundry afterward, but I didn't. I kept the shirt out and put it under my pillow for that night, if not to smell Paul's closeness, then to dream of it.
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