Friday, June 15, 2012
Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers
You see, both Claire and her mom are very busy, and their primary means of communication are through notes on the refrigerator door (they do talk and such, but we don't get to read any of it). But one day, Claire comes home to a note that her mom has gone to the doctor, about a suspicious lump. From then on, their lives change, and you can see it through the notes.
The notes were a mix of the mundane and their feelings. Some are essentially shopping lists (although I suppose you could claim that even shopping lists can be analysed), some are one-liners, and some a more personal. Towards the end, there are one or two letters, but mostly, the notes dominate.
And can I say I love this form of narrative fiction? Like really. It's quite different, but it works so well! (although I suppose if everyone wrote like that, I'll get bored quite quickly). As it is, this narrative form means that there's very little chance of over telling. Rather, we have to learn to infer what's going on from the notes. And I really love doing that.
There are only two perspectives in the book, and although there are many other characters mentioned, they almost don't exist. We don't know anything about them except what's mentioned, and there are no long conversations about them. What results is that the focus is on their relationship and how they deal with her mom's breast cancer. The book isn't very long, but the length is just right for such a narrow topic.
At the end of the book (for my copy anyway), there are three notes. Notes on 'writing', 'kitchens' and 'notes'. They're all about one page long each, but quite interesting to read. The "note on writing" was the whole "love to write" one, but it was interesting as to how she started writing. To me (who's terrible at writing!) it's quite an encouraging, especially as she talks about how her sentences were awkward at first. The other two notes discuss the background behind the book and are quite interesting.
Bottom line: Read this book. The cover is pink and looks girly (and young), but it's a fairly deep book that deals with a sensitive subject.