Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Beyond FICTION: SOUVENIR by Therese Fowler

I’m accumulating a back-log of items TBA (to blog about!) to add to my growing TBR list and wanted to post at least a couple before I head to Boston this weekend for a family baby shower. My kiddos have LOTS of cousins on their mother’s side, with cousin #36 due in early April. Yes, my family alone could populate a small town. With one of my sisters facing the prospect of motherhood for the first time, my mom and other sisters are flocking to Boston to shower her with gifts for herself and the baby on the way. As most DeGroot women (at least in my family) prefer to keep secrets until they have no choice but to reveal them, the gender of cousin #36 remains a mystery. More on that in about a month!

Anyhoo, I’ve been reading like mad lately and finished Therese Fowler’s debut novel Souvenir over a week ago. Therese is a fellow author/blogger/mom (or should that read mom/author/blogger?) based in North Carolina. Over the past year or so she’s kindly shared the ups and downs of the publishing process in her blog, Making It Up; more recently she’s written about signings and other authorly appearances in her neck of the woods. She’s a joy to read and a joy to “know”—virtually or in person.

I’m hesitant to write too much about this book since so much of its enjoyment depends on the discovery of answers to its suspenseful story questions. While the main character, Meg, struggles with a variety of mid-life quandaries (including a couple that are anything but typical and tug relentlessly at the heartstrings), a very serious development forces her to reassess her approach, her priorities, even her values as she grows more and more determined to live her life as she sees fit. What struck me most was the manner in which Meg chooses to reach out to those she loves, to make sure what she needs to say is said in a very clear way, to guarantee that the love she harbors for those most near and dear to her is recorded. Having learned a simple strategy from her own mother, Meg refuses to give up on her quest to make this dream of hers come true despite increasingly debilitating circumstances.

A few powerful messages ring clear through Therese’s story; Carpe Diem is just one. Look around with open eyes, set your priorities, and don’t surrender a single moment to regret or self-doubt, Meg instructs through her actions and words. Live today as though it’s your last, because life really is too damn short. Kudos, Therese, for a terrific story that packs such an important punch, and for giving Meg the courage to do (more than once) what she knows in her heart she must do. This reader, for one, will never forget her.


Blogger Therese said...

Many thanks, Karen! Your affection and praise for the book is quite an honor.

About all those cousins--WOW! How many siblings do you have? Between my two brothers and me, we'll have a total of six offspring (and all are boys).

8:12 AM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

You're welcome, Therese! I've got six brothers and four sisters so there are eleven of us total. No twins or triplets, just more than 20 years of changing diapers for my poor mom! It is true that older siblings help a lot in such a big family, but it probably would've been MORE helpful if she'd had her daughters first; she started off with five boys in a row! K.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Larramie said...

Having read SOUVENIR eight months ago, I'll verify the fact that all the characters linger.

And I liked your new TBA translation, Karen. ;)

12:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Ah, the TBA list grows right alongside the TBR list and then the WIP hangs over everything! Could we make up some more acronyms please? :)

Have fun in Boston and -- I'm glad I wasn't the only person who struggled with talking about Souvenir for fear of revealing too much! You definitely seized the opportunity to key in on a theme and emphasize its importance to us all. Great job!

12:23 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

Gotta love those acronyms, L&L! :)

2:27 PM  
Blogger Marla said...

I have seen this book talked abou ton so many blogs. It must be well worth reading. Thanks for sharing. You always have good reccomendations.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an ardent follower of her blog, I've also got Therese's book sitting right here. It is, alas, yet unread (Stupid 24 hours in a day) but I'm getting very close to cracking the spine.

Congrats Therese!

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll check this tome out.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Sherry ~ Cherie ~ ms. herbes de provence said...

This is on my TBR list too -- I hope to get to it within the next few weeks...I've heard so much about it that I can't wait!

5:48 PM  
Blogger Ello said...

Oh I'm doing my review of souvenir this weekend, but am glad I read yours first!!

9:44 PM  
Blogger Moanna said...

I'm reading Orange Mint and Honey this weekend, hoping to read Souvenir next weekend.

I'd also like to read a book about someone who has over 30 cousins. Wow. Your mom must be tired but happy!

10:37 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

Back from Boston and SO glad I went! Thanks to all who stopped by over the weekend to comment. And yes, Moanna, my mom is an amazing person. Not so tired since she and my dad have been an empty nester for a while now, but very happy to be surrounded by so much family. She's also very, very loved. K.

9:12 AM  

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