Sunday, February 07, 2010

Still Waters

Still Waters by Jennifer Lauck

I received Still Waters on cassette from a friend who was clearing out all of her audio books. Apparently Still Waters picks up after Blackbird, Lauck's earlier memoir. Normally I'd want to read Blackbird before starting Still Waters, but I needed an audio for a car trip so I decided to go ahead with it anyway.

Still Waters begins with a University of Oklahoma police report detailing the disappearance and subsequent death of a Bryan Lauck. The book will end many years after that report was written when Lauck looks into her brother's death and comes to terms with it.

The memoir's narrative opens with 12-year-old Jenny arriving at her maternal grandparents, where she expects to stay for good (both her parents have died and she's been abandoned by her stepmother, her brother sent off to live with another relative). Jenny is then shunted off to live with her father's youngest sister and her husband and young daughter. Although Aunt Georgia and Uncle Dick adopt Jenny, she feels profoundly unwanted and has to earn her keep. Still Waters follows Jenny as she grows up in this unloving home and sets out on her own. It unflinchingly chronicles her failures and disappointments. But, ultimately, Still Waters is an affirming book. Readers to follow Jenny past her tumultuous early adulthood as she comes to peace with her past and is able to trust herself enough to become a mother.

The version I listened to was read (and abridged) by Lauck. I really think Lauck being the reader added to the experience because the book is a memoir. I found it very compelling.

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