Saturday, September 14, 2013

Review: The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry

Zee is a psychotherapist living in Boston.  When one of her patients commits suicide, Zee is brought back to her mother's suicide decades earlier, as well as her mother's mental illness.  She's forced to come to terms with her mother's life and death, as well as her strained relationship with her father, when she moves back to Salem to care for her ailing dad.  He's in the advanced stages of Parkinson's.  Zee will have to find out who she really is and what exactly she wants out of life.

So, I didn't realize when I picked this book up that Zee's father was suffering from Parkinson's, and I honestly would not have purchased the book if I knew that.  My favorite singer, whose music has gotten me through so much, who is only 32, recently announced that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's.  He's young and with medical advances, the future looks kind of bright, but I really was not up to reading a book all about this elderly man suffering from the advanced stages of the disease.  I finally picked the book back up though.  I wanted to know how Zee's story ended.

I liked this book a lot, but I really loved Barry's previous novel, The Lace Reader, and it was neat how she dropped in tidbits from that book into this one.  I never really connected with Zee.  Instead, it was other characters that I found intriguing, like Melville, her father's partner since the death of her mother.  I thought it was interesting how Zee kept getting caught up with thoughts of her dead mother after the death of one of her patients.  Her mother and that patient suffered from the same mental illness, and it was obvious that Zee worried she could have saved them both.

All in all, I did like the story.  And I really adored the setting.  I visited Salem years ago with my family and have such fond memories of the trip, and Barry's descriptions of the town make me want to go back.  I loved how she brought in things like the House of Seven Gables, which make the town so famous.  And once again, I really enjoyed Barry's writing. 

Have you read any of Brunonia Barry's books?

Title: The Map of True Places
Author: Brunonia Barry
Date of Publication: 2010
Number of Pages: 406
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal Copy

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