Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Qualities of Light by Mary Carroll Moore

Publisher:               Spinsters Ink

It was supposed to be a routine summer at Cloud Lake, but the Fisher family is coming unraveled.  When Molly and her little brother Sammy disobeyed their father and took a boat out onto the lake, they had no way of knowing that an accident would leave Sammy lying in a hospital bed in a coma.  Their parents' marriage was tenuous at best with their father absorbed in his painting and mother waiting for a chance to take off in her plane and leave them all behind.  Instead, her parents are keeping a vigil at the hospital, focusing all of their attention on their son and Molly is left on her own to deal with her guilt, her parents and the strange feelings she's developing for Zoe Novato.  Zoe is unlike anyone fifteen year old Molly has ever met - funny, vivacious and not afraid to kiss a girl.  Molly's father is distant and her mother distracted, so she has no one to talk to about why she is more attracted to a girl than to Chad who would like to be her boyfriend.  As the summer progresses Zoe practices her waterskiing, Chad is confused, and Molly learns to deal with her feelings, both for her parents and Zoe.  And they are all waiting, waiting for Sammy to wake up.

Qualities of Light is a sensitive, deftly told story of an adolescent trying to cope with her emotions.  Molly's hormones should be raging, but what throws her is that they're drawing her towards a girl and Molly doesn't want to be different from everyone else.  She's struggling to reestablish her relationship with her parents, who aren't making it easy, and she doesn't need anything to complicate that more than Sammy's accident already has.  Moore shows Molly as a child-woman who alternates between immature behavior and overwhelming maturity as she deals with her family and friends.  Those who remember their passage through that age will find much that taps into their memories.

This is a serious, but interesting book.  Sometimes it's hard to get a grasp on the emotions that are being expressed, but that may be a device to help the reader relate to what Molly is going through.  This isn't a coming-out love story, but a thoughtful look at the process.  For those looking for a book with some depth, this may be it.

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