Monday, January 6, 2014

The Painted Table - by Suzanne Field

Handcrafted and brought to America from Norway in the early 20th century, the table that stood in Josephine's childhood home served as refuge from dangers both within and without her home.  As she grew, the memories attached to the table seemed to filter into her broken mind and create a strange relationship that fed her frenzies.  Her daughters, observing the oddities of their mother, developed their own methods of coping and growing, never quite knowing what normal should be.  Only as the eldest daughter, Saffee, grew and encountered people in her life willing to work around her rough edges, could she fully examine her own relationship with her mother and find healing in the strangest of places - The Painted Table.

This was a difficult book to read.  The reader is drawn completely into Josephine's drama and mania, her fears and delusions, as well as Saffee's uncertainty and seclusion.  It was so hard to decide whether to feel bad for the characters or dislike them for how they treated others.  For the first portion of the book, I was completely invested and engaged, however, the middle section felt unnecessarily long and drawn out.  There was just too much of the same thing over and over.  Once, Saffee began to become her own person, though, and work through her past through the people in her present, the story became alive again.

It is hard to say if one "likes" a book about mental illness and the complete devastation it can have on families, but this was an interesting read that felt very real and vulnerable.  I give it 3.5 stars.

You can find The Painted Table HERE.
You can find more about the book and author HERE (including a contest for a table!).

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson, in exchange for my honest review.

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