5.0 out of 5 stars
What has Katie Jensen done?, July 6 2004
What has Katie Jensen done? How did this New England teenager all but destroy her Hawthorne,MA family? Why has Katie's mother, Rachel Jensen been thinking lately about "what it takes to unravel a life, not just one life, but the fabric of a family, carefully woven together with love and faith over the years.
Dani Shapiro's "Family History" begins with Rachel Jensen confessing to the reader that she "lies in bed these days and watches home movies" In the first chapter, the reader can see the damage done by the Jensen's teenage daughter. Rachel and Katie's father, Ned Jensen are separated. Ned now lives in a condo complex called "Pine Dunes" but nicknamed "Divorced Dad Dunes" by Rachel and Ned earlier in their marriage when they thought nothing could split them apart. Ned is no longer a teacher at the local academy but is now employed by his affluent parents as a real estate agent for their real estate firm, Jensen Reality. The Jensen's youngest child, two-year old Josh is not developing as fast as his peers at The Little Acorn preschool.
"Family History," told through Rachel's eyes, bounces from the past within Rachel's memory to the cold harshness of the present day. Shapiro expertly takes the reader on an emotional journey of the love, anger, guilt, resentment, forgivness and redemption that exists in every family to some degree. Shapiro's novel reinforces the notion that struggles make families stronger both as individuals and as a whole.
I would recommend this novel to those readers who enjoy a true to life story of the struggles that families face everyday and to those readers who want to understand the extraordinary strength it takes for families to make it through the devastating "storms of life" and how they are still hanging on to one another after the wind and rain dies away.