REVIEW: Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt

pictures of youFormat:  Paperback
Genre:  General Fiction
ISBN:  978-1-56512-631-2
Published:  2011

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Back of the Book Blurb:

Two women running away from their marriages collide on a foggy highway, killing one of them. The survivor is left to pick up the pieces, not only of her own life, but also must go back and deal with the devastated husband and fragile, asthmatic son the other woman left behind. Together, they try to solve the mystery of where April was running to, and why. By turns riveting and unsettling, Pictures of You looks at the choices women make-the roads they choose-to be loved.

My Thoughts:

Pictures of You is classic Caroline Leavitt, and if you have read her books (as I have), you will know what to expect. The women are damaged, they are running from trauma of some sort, there are always complications, and (ultimately) that which has been hidden gets discovered in the end. It is a formula that Leavitt uses very effectively, and she weaves her words together in a way that typically sucks you into the story within a few pages. This book is no exception.

I loved that photography was the connective tissue in this novel, and in particular that Isabelle took pictures of kids. That is the kind of detail through which both mounting discomfort and eventual healing took place. And that worked for me. I also liked that in the end, what I was rooting for was NOT what happened. It was a good choice, and though it made for some unfinished business between characters, it made the ending good, and open-ended, and hopeful.

My first experience with Caroline Leavitt was Into Thin Air. I loved it, and I have read her work faithfully ever since. Though she uses a familiar formula, I like her spin on it. I like the characters (for the most part anyway), and I like most of all that she doesn’t tie her stories up neatly. The truth is, life is never tied up neatly, and if the argument that fiction is truth has any merit at (I think it does), then it does have to reflect the messiness of life and truth to some degree. Leavitt gets that, and she writes good stories as a result.