Friday Review: Sleepwalking Backwards by Catherine Zebrowski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amanda is 23, gifted at mathematics, teaching at the local university, and living with her fiancé. She has an obsession with astronomy and what some call an overactive imagination. When she and her fiancé break up, she decides to move to a family cabin that she has loved her whole life. Her parents are worried, her fiancé is confused, and an old flame has resurfaced, complicating things even more. Along the way to finding Amanda, she also finds a family secret that her parents have hidden for many years.

This is a complicated story. It is told from the alternation viewpoints of Amanda in the present, and her mother from the past where a tragic accident caused her to have a psychiatric break and become withdrawn and unable to speak. The chapters alternate between the two. Unlike some books with this sort of set-up, it is always clear whose story is being told. And those stories unfold in thin layers, bit by bit.

This isn’t my usual sort of book, but I did enjoy it. It’s a deep glimpse into the fragility of the mind and how deeply a person can be affected by life. It’s also the story of a family divided by secrets, even if they aren’t aware themselves of the divisions. It’s well-written and readable, without a lot of frills. I thought it was a good one.

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