Friday, March 24, 2006

The Buffalo Soldier

Book five of the "50 book challenge" was "The Buffalo Soldier" by Chris Bohjalian, author of "Midwives".

The book starts off with the first real tragedy to hit Terry and Laura's lives; the death of their twin girls during a flood. From there the story jumps to the 'present', where Alfred is already living with Laura and Terry, having become their foster child. We experience this story through the various characters' points of views, bouncing from Laura struggling to recover from her grief and depression, wanting badly to connect with Alfred, to Terry's distance from them and his affair, to Alfred's resignation of a new "family" and his acceptance that this too would end. We also get to see these people from Paul, and elderly neighbor who Alfred accepts almost immediately, to Phoebe, the woman that Terry has an affair with.

While it starts off slow, I did get drawn into the story, going so far as to get angry with Terry when he completely misreads a situation with Alfred, who was only preparing himself for what had always happened before. Laura was also a character that took a bit of work, but you could see that she genuinely wanted Alfred to be a part of her family, with or without Terry.

I won't ruin the end for you, but I will say that I did not expect it to end the way it did. In fact, it didn't end the way I wanted it too, with Terry and Pheobe and Terry's brother, who's name totally escapes me right now, to die a firey death, but alas. It does not end that way. Honestly, I would have liked more resolution to the ending, as it feels to open for me.

And for the record, I have read "Midwives". It was a couple of years ago but I remember being unsatisfied with that book as well.

As for the online book club and it's choice for March, "Saturday" by Ian McEwan...yeah. I've got some time still, right?

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