Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Dysfunctional Mixed Race Family

Lydia Lee, the middle daughter, disappears. Was she kidnapped, murdered; did she run away; did she commit suicide? The family has no answers when they wake up and find Lydia missing. She was the perfect daughter trying to realize her parents dreams. Her mother wanted her to become a doctor, a wish her mother was unable to fulfill. Her father wanted her to be popular because he felt like an outcast. But Lydia can't realize her parents dreams. She's a different person.

On the positive side, the author understands the stresses of mixed race families, in this case Asian and American. I found her psychological insights perceptive. On the negative side, her understanding of story structure is poor. In the opening of the novel, Lydia has disappeared. No one knows why. The assumption is that she has been murdered. Nathan, her older brother, suspects Jack, the neighborhood bad boy, but no one can prove it, and Jack says he knows nothing.

After setting up the story as a murder mystery, the author takes a several page digression into the history of Lydia's parents' lives. It stops the story dead. If you're fascinated by the dynamics of a mixed race household, it's perfectly in keeping with the theme, but if you're expecting a murder mystery, it doesn't produce the expected attempt by the family and police to solve the mystery.

I thought the author did an excellent job with the psychological aspects of the novel, but if you're looking for a mystery, give this a miss.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.