2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 0 books toward her goal of 39 books.

Friday, August 8, 2008

REVIEW for Emma's Table

I received this book from the author Philip Galanes and his publicist Katherine. Thank you very much!
TITLE: Emma's Table
AUTHOR: Philip Galanes
DATE: August 2008
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction
RATING: 4 Stars
When I first picked up this book, I thought it would be a chick lit book. Its not.

Author Philip Galanes has written a deeply moving, sad but uplifting novel. The storyline starts off at an auction house where our main character Emma (who strangely reminds me of (....). She is determined to get a special dining room table and will go to any lengths to get it. I thought this was a very interesting opening chapter as it totally threw me off for the rest of the book. I was certain we would be heading in the direction of so much of the standard stuff these days - rich celebrity spends too much money and we get to hear all about it. Well, this book is NOT about this in the least.

Once Emma gets her table, it is hardly mentioned again until much further into the storyline, but we are introduced, slowly, to all the other characters who live in this novel. Benjamin is Emma's assistant, who also happens to be a social worker. Casey is Emma's daughter and she is a mess and her father seems to be a huge part of this - then we have Tina and Gracie. Tina is Gracie's mother and suffers from every insecurity known to man and little Gracie is a young girl who is suffering emotionally, mentally and physically from being grossly overweight. ALL of the characters in this book are deeply flawed and are not particularly likeable at times.

Yet, this makes the storyline work. It gives the author and the readers a chance to get to know each of them on a very personal level. No one is one dimensional in this book. For every unkind thought Emma has, she will turn around and severely chastise herself for it, for every horrible act of self-desctruction Casey poses, she will try to redeem herself.

Interestingly enough, all of the characters don't actually end up in the same room at the same time until well into the novel - this disappointed me a little. I love the small exposure we get to the blossoming relationship that could have developed between the sad, lonely, broken and older Emma and the sad,lonely, broken and younger Gracie. Perhaps a sequel can explore this further?

This book is not at all what I expected and I am grateful for that. It does not figure into the standard yarn, which makes this story one that needs telling. The author tends to use flowery descriptions at times, which I thought was appropriate for the type of story he was telling.
I believe this is a sign of a good author - one who can make you love the story - even if you are not fond of the characters.

Make sure you read Emma's Table.

1 comment:

Michele said...

Sounds like a very interesting book. I like that it wasn't cookie cutter. Thanks for the great review! I've added to my tbr.

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