The Safety of Secrets, by DeLaune Michel

The Safety of Secrets is about friends Fiona and Patricia and how they cope with a secret from their childhood. Working as successful actresses in Hollywood, their lives are filled with work and husbands and memories that they share. After Fiona learns that she is pregnant..she begins to evaluate the relationship she had with her own mother and tries to come to terms with things that happened to her as a child.

The author does a good job of describing adolescent angst, but as adults..the characters seemed a bit flat. Especially the character of Patricia. I wanted to see the adult relationships explored a bit more especially once we are told what the secret is. There just didn’t seem to be a lot of interaction between Fiona and Patricia once they were adults. I think it is assumed that because they were such good friends as children, that their friendship remains strong even without the interaction, but the actions of Patricia make me doubt that.

Although it was an easy read, I was left wanting more. I received this copy from the Harper Collins First Look program and it includes a reader’s guide. After reviewing some of the questions in the guide, I can see this as a good choice for a book group as there is a lot to discuss.

If you give it a whirl, let me know what you think of it.

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The Unknown Terrorist, by Richard Flanagan

I had a hard time with this book. It started out rough.. got better…and then ended poorly. A young woman who makes her living as a pole dancer in a gentleman’s club, has a one night stand with a handsome stranger. We don’t learn too much about this stranger, but their meeting leads the authorities to believe that she is a terrorist. Instead of going to the police to explain the situation, she decides to go into hiding.

My problem with this novel was not her profession… or her lack of education…or the dark and depressing subject matter… my problem is that the main character seemed to to be driven, only by money, and not much else. I get that she probably needed to focus on something material, in order to get her through her grisly line of work, but when she was accused of being a terrorist… I didn’t get that she was genuinely panicked over it. She just seemed to flit from one location to another.. perhaps it was her drug use. She seemed to be looking at things through a filter.

In the first part of the book, we know this woman as “The Doll”. This is a good name for her as she appears to be very one dimensional. Towards the end of the book, we learn her real name and we learn some things about her that make her more real to us. However, I don’t feel that this information was given to us early enough.

One descriptive word that came to mind when trying to describe this book to my husband was “gritty”. The media plays a large role in this novel, and I kept picturing the dark, gritty quality of a bad news clip taken in some foreign land. Overall, the book left me very unsettled and disturbed.

If you want a departure from your normal reading, then this might be a book for you.

Chatting with friends about books and life…