What we see of the lives of most people we encounter is a small
portion thereof--sort of like the part of an iceberg that is above the
waterline. These days, with most people being so darn image
conscious, much of what we get even from friends and family can be
spin doctored. Fiction can give us the assurance that we aren't the
only ones with messy lives and often insurmountable challenges. In
Triangles Ellen Hopkins serves us up a triple scoop of this assurance.
Holly is someone a lot of us would envy. She has a loving
lawyer husband, three beautiful children, a perfect home in a posh
area, all the creature comforts she could ever want. Lately, though,
she's felt dissatisfaction with her predictable existence and wanted
to get out of what she considers a rut. Unfortunately, in addition to
regaining her figure and taking a stab at writing, she's been
experimenting with extramarital sex.
Marissa is someone we might allude to as a saint, respect and
feel sorry for at the same time, and probably not want to spend a lot
of time around. Her life is centered around her second child, her
daughter who was born with a terminal illness and is dying slowly at
the age of four. Her husband is missing in action much of the time.
She suspects this may not all be work related. Her son is alienating
his father by being gay.
Andrea is someone you might pass without a second thought. The
single mother of a teen age daughter, she works in the title research
of Department of Motor Vehicles. Her love life is what you'd call
nonexistent. Her ex husband has moved back to the area. She is quite
concerned with the way this may influence her daughter who will now
spend more time in his household which includes a hunky boy.
As the title implies, the relationships between the women are
the focus of the book. Andrea is Holly's best friend who sees her
chum jeopardizing a relationship and lifestyle Most women (including
herself) would just about kill for. She is also the sister of Marissa
who she feels holds out too much hope of turning things around for a
child who is quickly slipping away. Over the course of a summer in
which they will be challenged individually and collectively you will
get to know each member of this trinity, not only through their words
and thoughts, but through those of companions with whom their lives
You'll be glad you did.
On a personal note, Hopkins really nails how often the presence in a
family of a severely ill or handicapped child will lead to one parent
withdrawing, emotionally if not physically, and the other being super
involved in that child's care, a geometry that leads to a super high
divorce rate for this group. When Harriet became brain damaged from
having spinal meningitis my parents' already shaky marriage went into
a final downward spiral.
A great big shout out goes out to the siblings of these children who
have a lot to deal with in complex and confusing situations.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod