Monday, September 20, 2010

Review by Shellie: Chasing Stardust ~ by Laurel-Rain Snow

 

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About a persistent woman who holds onto her dreams. It is about her life during the sexual revolution, developing feminism, and the war in Vietnam.

About:   A contemporary story about the life of  Merrilee Hennessy, a woman born in the US during the late 1950’s. It extends through her life experiences into the early 2000’s. With an omnipresent narration we see her life and what she feels and thinks, as a strong and driven woman, at first in her late teens and then into her middle age. With the historical back drop of the Vietnam war, the sexual revolution and the growth of feminism, it is a look inside a woman, her beliefs and the myths of her life and the generation.

Thoughts:   Chasing Stardust starts out slowly, almost like a diary, with the issues being resolved through the main character’s ability to hold on to her dreams through pure perseverance and positive thinking - an important perspective for understanding the character and her life during that time. As she struggles with her dreams of a romantic ideal, akin to the romance novels she devours, she is strengthened by the ideals (held internally and supported culturally) of the perfect home and family. While things are not quite right for her, she perseveres by pushing the acknowledgment of her difficulties out of her consciousness; a key element for the story.

Some significant themes within the novel are - contrary to our internalized myths about motherhood, at times and even with a woman’s best efforts, bonding with one’s child is not a possibility; the love of a woman’s life is not necessarily a romantic love, but can be the love of a child; issues related to drug and alcohol abuse; the US legal system and its methodology for placing children from neglected and abusive homes.

My recommendation for the reader is to be aware that the first part of the novel moves along with Merrilee with her ups and downs just a bit slowly – as readers we are sometimes accustomed to the “drama and trauma” contained in the very beginning of books. It is, however, important for understanding this character. The story significantly picks up about a third of the way through and becomes heart wrenching and insightful where the consequences of the main character’s choices are made clear.

Highly recommended if you enjoy women’s fiction, strong female characters, this recent era in period fiction, and/or if you like stories with addiction and recovery as a theme. It is a wonderful self published and edited novel, amazingly without any errors in syntax as well as spelling. I give this excellent effort and book 4 stars.

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For more information about the book and the author – please see the preview of Chasing Stardust, and for an interview with Laurel around her experiences about writing a self published novel click on the live links within the text. Also coming next week will be a guest post about the Laurel’s take on her main character - Merrilee.

This review will be included in a number of challenges - New Author, Woman Unbound, and War Through the Generations.

Thanks for reading Layers of Thought.

8 comments:

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Thanks, Shellie...From your amazing review, it was clear that you "got" my book and where I was going with the characters.

I think it's important that you clearly stated the context for the character, and while this part of my life (and the character's life) was in my youth, it is definitely "'way back in the day" for contemporary women.

Maybe it could help some to see how that time in life changed the landscape for women today.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Laurel -
I am so glad you liked my review.

Thanks for giving me the chance to read one of your books. I am not that far off from its experiences in terms of age...so perhaps that is why I got it....

Looking forward to reading another one of your books.

J. Kaye said...

Great review! Congrats Laurel! :)

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Thanks J. Kaye -
If Laurel wasn't such a great writer I would say she should be an editor.

Not one error!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Thanks for stopping by, J. Kaye...and Shellie, in my "incarnation" as a social worker, one of my more recent duties was to edit all the reports written by other social workers...lol.

Plus I edited a small newsletter way back in the day.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Laurel -
I do think I remember you mentioning the newspaper but not the reports.

I guess I hold it in such high regard since I am crap at it. Hence the reason why it took me so long to get this review right. lol...

Anna said...

We'll get this up on the War Through the Generations blog soon. Things have been hectic for both me and Serena, so we're a bit behind in our updates.

Glad to see you really enjoyed the book.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Anna -
Excellent! Thank you.

I've been missing all your updates, Serena's, the Challenge's site but completely understand.

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