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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have a heart, this book will move you, Oct. 30 2011
This review is from: Natural Order (Hardcover)
I loved this book. The story of a Joyce Sparks, 86, now in a nursing home, looking back on her life and on the difficult relationship with her son, John. Joyce was never quite able to come to terms with her son's sexual orientation and the silence surrounding this pink elephant in the room is Joyce's tragic flaw. I was reminded of "Olive Kitteridge" in the way Francis so perfectly creates Joyce's interior world, as well as the crusty, crotchety, ultimately fragile personality of the protagonist.

If being gay these days is difficult for young people (and it undoubtedly is, alas), the era in which John grew up was even harsher. Francis also paints a perfect picture of time, and of the terrible 80s, when so many were dying of "the gay disease." Joyce's life, it seems, as been book-ended by gay men, and if I had one quibble with the book it would be that the narratively convenient circle this creates feels just a tiny bit contrived. But never mind, the characters are so beautiful and compassionately crafted it's a small niggle indeed.

I can't imagine anyone with a heart not being moved by this book. Well done, Mr. Francis.
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Location: Princeton, New Jersey

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