Friday, November 15, 2013
Book Review: Someone by Alice McDermott
Author: Alice McDermott
Enjoyment Rating: ****
This book would be rated: PG-13
Marie is an ordinary person. Born in Brooklyn in the 1920s, she doesn't stray far from the path you might expect. She graduates from high school and works for a few years until she marries. She and her husband move to Long Island where they raise four children. Her mother dies and her brother comes to live with them. They grow old.
Marie's life isn't all that different from mine, or from that of millions of American women. She's beloved by her husband and children, and invisible to almost everyone else. And that's the beauty of Someone. I was talking with my mom about the book a few weeks ago and she said, "that book isn't really about anything," and I guess that's true, but that's also what I loved about it-- McDermott is able to make the life of an ordinary woman extraordinarily interesting. The book is very descriptive, and I think this comes, in small part, because Marie is very nearsighted, but McDermott uses this character trait to paint interesting pictures from an ordinary life. It was lovely to me that McDermott was able to select both small and large moments from Marie's life to create a cohesive picture of a whole life, a full life, an ordinary life.