Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood– A Review

 

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A tragic accident leads Wood’s heroine, Lizzy,  back to her childhood. When Lizzy’s parents died in a car accident, she is sent to live with her uncle, a priest at a small parish. The idyllic childhood years unfold setting the stage for the tragedies yet to come. After all, there is no longer fall than the one from an idyllic childhood. Post-accident Lizzy tries to piece together the events that led to her sudden removal from her uncle’s charge. In Wood’s intricately woven plot, we find out why only at the end when the story comes together like the pieces of Humpty-Dumpty’s shell.

Wood tells the story by alternating point of views between Lizzy and Father Mike. She takes readers into a  maelstrom of right and wrong as the story unfolds. Father Mike is as devoted to his church as any priest. Yet he is tempted. This dilemma coupled with Lizzy’s recollections of her childhood build into a gripping story.

With a cast of interesting characters, each one developed with the care of a precise writer, Wood crafts a story with masterful prose. The writing never falters as in this passage, “I spent seven years as Father Mike’s child, a time delicate and fossilized, sweet as a paw print encased in amber, telling as a line on a cave wall.”

This book is worth reading not just for the superb prose and story telling, but because Wood forces readers to examine their understanding of right and wrong.  A great novel demands your attention long after you have finished it. That is exactly what Wood has accomplished in this fine book.

 

 

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