Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Version of the Truth

A Version of the Truth
By Donna Kaufman and Karen Mack
Delacorte Press. 2008. 322 pages. Fiction

Cassie Shaw’s husband has just died, but that’s the good news. He was a cheating jerk who left her with nothing but debt. Now Cassie, who barely finished high school because of her dyslexia, is so desperate for a job that she lies on a job application for office assistant at the local university.

Working in the psychology department, especially under the charming William Conner, an animal behavior professor, soon ignites a passion for learning. Cassie begins to read poetry and philosophy especially if they are about her passion, animals and nature. Her thoughts and opinions soon become valued by the department professors, something that means so much to Cassie.

This book was everything I was hoping for in Kaufman’s first novel, Literacy and Longing in L.A. It made me want to go read all the books that Cassie reads, which in this novel, are mainly about nature such as the transcendentalist writers, Whitman and Emerson. I enjoyed Cassie’s character who was so quirky and flawed, but despite that, she is willing to risk a lot to become the person she’s always wanted to be. This novel does a great job of mixing together love, humor, philosophy, and a passion for nature.


1 comment:

ALC said...

Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack are not my favorite authors. Firmly entrenched in California's culture I feel write with an elitist take about the rest of middle America. I find that I can not sympathize greatly with their characters. Although an interesting premise - what if your hated husband simply died and left you free to start over - I couldn't care about Cassie Shaw. The authors provide plenty of insight into her head, I just couldn't do much emotionally with what was there. Of all the characters in this novel I like Cassie's hippie Topanga Canyon mother the most. I enjoyed Cassie's birdwatching and her slight obsession with animals. Otherwise I felt she was a bit of a tramp. The novel provided a moderately interesting peek at college academic life from the point of view of William Connor, one of Cassie's mentors. Otherwise, I couldn't recommend it.