The March of 2016 Timely and Timeless Book Club meeting enjoyed the company of 8 members for our discussion of the book Family Tree. While the issues presented in Barbara Delinsky’s plot are challenging, the heart of the story was about love, acceptance and forgiveness. At the beginning of the book the central plot point emerges with the dramatic realization that a white couple’s newborn infant is of quite obviously mixed race.
This situation tests the strength of the couple’s core bonds of trust. Sorting out the infant’s racial heritage opens other doors in surrounding relationships as well. The central characters are the parents of the infant. Hugh – the infant’s father, is an attorney, who is presented as a fair minded man whose practice includes a racial spectrum of clients performing a lot of pro bono work for needy clients. His wife, Dana, who is successful in her work and smart with a kind spirit, seems to possess a deeper emotional strength than her husband. While Hugh comes from a well-documented family tree of high standing, Dana has much uncertainty about her heritage including who her father is and why he was not part of her life.
The next door neighbor is a divorced black doctor who is the father of a mixed race child. He and Hugh face tests of trust as well in their long standing and close friendship. There are secrets that unravel on both sides of Hugh’s and Dana’s families as the story develops.
With newer DNA testing, many old beliefs about family heritage are being rewritten. Drawing on that idea, this book is a thoughtful examination of attitudes and understanding of who the characters are. Unraveling the real stories in this book doesn’t always reveal all of the truths that are sought. But the process allows for growth and appreciation about the struggles the characters’ families faced on their journeys.
Our book club rated Family Tree 3.7/5. It was clear that as we delved into the themes of the book during our discussion, we developed a deeper appreciation for the thoughtful way Ms. Delinsky explored the ideas it covered. Barbara Delinsky’ background includes a B.A in Psychology and an M.A in Sociology. A list of discussion questions can be found at http://www.litlovers.com/.
For April, we are reading Dead Sleep by Greg Iles. We will meet at Big G’s at noon on April 26th.
… "Ingenious." —New York Times
… "Hair-raising...Iles continues to scare the living daylights out of readers." —New Orleans Times-Picayune
… "As fast as any techno-thriller and as well thought out as an Agatha Christie mystery...Grade A." —Rocky Mountain News
… "Perfect mystery mind candy." —Fort Worth Star Telegram
From Barnes and Noble review of Dead Sleep:
They are called "The Sleeping Women." A series of unsettling paintings in which the nude female subjects appear to be not asleep, but dead. Photojournalist Jordan Glass has another reason to find the paintings disturbing...The face on one of the nudes is her own-or perhaps the face of her twin sister, who disappeared and is still missing. At the urging of the FBI, Jordan becomes both hunter and hunted in a search for the anonymous artist-an obsessed killer who seems to know more about Jordan and her family than she is prepared to face....