Monday, April 23, 2012

Review of Confusing the Seasons

Dan Cavallari's debut novel, Confusing the Seasons, is an intense story chronicling the men of the Coates family. Einar William Coates is adjusting to life without his beloved wife, who recently passed away. She was the glue that held them all together. She always knew what to say and how to handle all of their precarious situations. Jason, the younger son, is adjusting to life without his wife, who left him after finding out he had an affair. Robert seems to still hold a grudge against Jason for childhood battles and for causing his limp. Einar's daughter Bethany has her own problems, with a husband named Askar who can't seem to put down his phone long enough to acknowledge her existence.

Each member of the family is completely screwed up in one way or another. No one seems to know how to have a productive relationship with anyone else. They don't even seem to love themselves. Secrets in all of their pasts seem to continue to eat away at their lives and snowball as more revelations surface. When they try to mend their relationships and resolve some of their past issues, they only seem to succeed in making everything worse. You go from feeling sorry for a character to wanting to punch him in the face and to shake him for being so small-minded and stupid. But you can't stop reading. I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, until I had read a couple more chapters.

The story of the Coates family is a painful one. Cavallari doesn't attempt to sugar coat anything. He doesn't come up with tidy resolutions to conflict. People like to read something that wraps up everything with a big shiny bow. You aren't going to get that here. Life doesn't work that way.

Cavallari seamlessly goes from the past to the present, to help explain the background of each family member's story. As more is revealed, their stories all seem to come together to lead up to the final showdown, which will surprise you. Confusing the Seasons is a book that is going to stay with you long after you read it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookRooster in exchange for my honest review.

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