Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review: The Condition

The Condition
by Jennifer Haigh

The Least You Need to Know... family drama; daughter is diagnosed with Turner Syndrome; narration rotates between different family members.

Reminds Me of... My Sister's Keeper, for the family drama circling around a disease; Best Friends, because of the beach setting.

Pros... plot quickly draws you in (I could have read it in one sitting had I not needed to go to work); great characters that you can disagree with one minute, but completely understand after they get a chance to explain themselves; mostly believable plot twists; stories about families always make me think of mine and ones I know... and it's nice to read how messed up other peoples' families are :)

Cons... it ends. No, seriously, the characters are really compelling and I was irritated on the last page because there were unanswered questions. I wanted to know "what happened next" for each of the characters. A few of the story lines are wrapped up too neatly and easily.

Quotable... "The ailment at the center of this remarkable novel is the human condition itself." (From a review by Tom Perrotta). Spot on - the book could have gotten bogged down in the daughter's medical condition; instead, each family member's "condition" is given suitable attention and weight.

Bottom Line... a great novel. I haven't read Haigh's other books, but I will after reading this. I knew nothing about Turner's before, and the book did a nice job of including details a reader would want to know, while not overwhelming a non med student. If your book club needs a selection for an upcoming month, or you just want something that you'll actually finish reading before it's due back at the library - this is for you.


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