author photo from hachette images
by Joanna Scott
Little, Brown and Company
April 22, 2009
When a young girl longs to learn of her family, of her heritage she is in for an exciting narration from her grandmother (AKA Sally Werner). She makes the young girl promise to never tell another soul what she is going to tell her, as she has never told anyone herself. In her grandmother's words she pieces together the mystery of her father's choices, and mostly the choice he made to leave her, a choice she lives with daily. Her family secrets are what make up a history of hardship and difficulty, however at the same time she realizes that within her family's history fanciful legends and tales hold the same value as the truth. However when she is confronted with her father, a man she had never known because of his choice to (after a failed suicide attempt) leave both she and her mother for a better life, she learns that he has another story all together about her grandmother. But could the elaborate story that her grandmother entrusted to her may only be fiction after all?
Follow Me is an interesting portrayal of family difficulties, discrepancies in family history and more than anything the lives that become that history. Since lives are lived only by one person, and seen by others in a much different light than one intends, history of the living is difficult to nail down. Follow Me is a novel of mysteries, family secrets and after a full dose of half-truths and some lies, there is a family history that evolves.
My thoughts are scattered on this read. I did enjoy the writing, it was as fluid and practical as it was elegant. Joanna Scott is an amazing storyteller and an extremely gifted writer, the tale flows from her words with ease. The only problem was that sometimes it seemed like it was too at ease, too leisurely, and I wished to learn faster. I found it interesting, but felt myself lagging behind in the thrill of it. I didn't completely fall head-over-heels with Sally Werner either, who this story is really about. For me it was mostly that somehow I felt I needed to be guarded against her because her choices made me nervous, and when I was allowed to know her thoughts about herself they were so harsh- that it just made me distrust her. By far the biggest fault of the book, which may be my own, is that I just lacked that personal bond with the characters. I did enjoy this read though, just not as much as I had hoped when it started out.
When you don't connect with the characters, does it make it harder for you to fall in love with the book? Do you find it harder to connect with characters you feel consistently make the wrong choices?
Some other perspectives:
Peeking Between the Pages
My Friend Amy
S. Krishna's Books
Savvy Verse & Wit