Monday, May 04, 2009
LADIES LENDING LIBRARY by Janice Kulyk Keefer
I first heard about this book through two blogs, Library Love Fest and Knitted and Purled. It sounded like an intriguing look into the lives of quiet desperation led by a group of Ukrainian women in 1960s Canada. The book reminded me of films like A WALK ON THE MOON and DIRTY DANCING. Maybe even a little "Ya-Ya Sisterhood" thrown in.
THE LADIES' LENDING LIBRARY follows the lives of a group of Ukrainian women summering at a lake in 1960s Canada. The close-knit lives of the women are interwoven with secrets and disappointments. The center of the story is meant to be an affair but the affair proves to be a fairly undeveloped side story. I found the best part of the novel to be the lives of the children. Keefer captures children in that nebulous phase between childhood and adulthood very very well. The children were much more compelling in their inner lives than the women themselves. I was disappointed at how the story developed. It wasn't very clear what the author ultimately wanted to get across. The most compelling storylines were dropped and the cliched affair is allowed to provide the ultimate denouement. There were so many characters in the story, many of them with similar names, that I often had to flip back through the book to figure out who was who.
BOTTOM LINE: Not recommended. It was a quick read with interesting characters but the plot seemed muddled and confused. The book would make a good beach read but don't go into it expecting anything particularly new.