By Karolina Waclawiak
Regan Arts, Hardcover, 9781941393291, July 2015, 240pp.
The Short of It:
No calm water here. This beach-front community is on the verge of ruin and the frenetic energy of its characters comes bursting out in strange and unusual ways.
The Rest of It:
The story revolves around the inhabitants of a country-club community located along the Connecticut shoreline. Beach-front properties, club houses, sparkling pools filled with forty-something-year-old women trying to look good for anyone who will look at them, and the disgusting tourists that force themselves upon the beach with their dirty little dogs and whiny kids. Yes, it’s a story of US versus THEM and although it’s a little strange to follow, it’s just so juicy to read.
The story is told in alternating points of view between Cheryl and her adult stepson, Teddy. Cheryl is married to Teddy’s father Jeffrey. Cheryl is Jeffrey’s second wife. Although she was a trophy wife when she first moved in, ten years has aged her and her relationship with Jeffrey is hardly a relationship at all. With him gone all the time for work, Cheryl spends her days gardening, taking long walks and paying far too much attention to what is going on in the so-called community.
Teddy, is Cheryl’s adult stepson who returns home after getting booted out of college. He’s hooked on painkillers, sex and seems intent on making poor choices but there’s a sadness to Teddy that you can’t ignore and when he and Cheryl begin to fall apart at the same time but in totally different ways, it’s impossible to know what will happen.
The Invaders puts you right in the middle of the story. I could smell the sea air, hear the water splashing and feel the tension of that tight-knit community along with all of its airs and affluence and yes, sadness. There is much sadness in-between these pages. There’s also, a rawness to the story that leaves you a little off kilter.
It’s hard to like anyone in this novel. Everyone is stripped down and flayed bare but the complexities between the characters and the struggles they have within their own lives is what makes them so interesting.
I’ve never read a book that I liked and hated as much as this one. I’d flip a page and hate it and then I’d read a paragraph and love it again. I kept going back and forth like that throughout the entire book! In the end, I think I’m safe in saying that it impressed me but that ending! Boy!
This book may have a beach setting but it’s not a lighthearted read. It’s filled with desperate people who really just want to be loved. It’s dreadful but at the same time, so good.
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