Yesterday I sat in my office, doing the writing work I get paid to do, when my older daughter brought her book in the office and laid down on the floor next to my desk and just started to read.
This never happens.
Usually, when the girls get home, it’s snack and personal space time for them both. Neither really wants to talk, but especially my older daughter. I think it’s her way of decompressing after a long day; she’s done it since kindergarten.
But yesterday she decompressed next to me. We didn’t talk; she read and I typed.
I like to believe she needed me, but didn’t want to tell me she needed me. She’s 13. And sometimes we all need just the presence of our mothers. No words. Just unspoken love.
These are the hard years for my girl. She’s almost 13 (less than three weeks!), and is in the midst of those wonderful junior high years (well, middle school, but you get it). These are the years that can break a girl’s spirit.
It’s my belief that junior high (or middle school) is the reason we give every little kid medals for participation and make them feel like everything they do is super extra special. Because maybe, if she hangs onto a little bit of those thoughts and get some love at home, she can make it through 7th and 8th grade with a little self-esteem left.
Of course it’s not all love and hugs. It’s a little bit of tough love, teaching her to do the right for the right reasons. It’s getting through a lot of eyerolls and stomping out of the room to teach her to do her own laundry (or at least get the basket down the stairs) and to clean up after herself. It’s teaching her the hardest lesson of all (and one I still have trouble with): that sometimes hard work is its own reward.
This school year, 7th grade, has been hard for my girl. Changing bodies, emotions scattered, boys, school, sports. All those things start to come into play. People can be cruel and mean, and this has gotten to her. She doesn’t communicate: we have to feel around and do some detective work to figure out what’s going on, and then figure out a way to help her handle it, teaching her without a heavy hand (and every once and awhile we step in and just handle it, because we are her parents, and there are moments that needs to happen).
Thank goodness this year is nearly over. With today, that means only four more days.
So I’ll take those moments when my girl lays down on my office floor and just reads. It’s her way of feeling safe, of feeling mom’s love without crawling in my lap (which I still force her to do sometimes). I’ll take these little moments, and hope and pray that this year, and then the next five years, end with her safe and sane, and, if possible, a little happy as well.
Enough of that. Let’s get onto my review of Laura Lippman’s Wilde Lake.
Luisa “Lu” Brant has just been elected as the first woman state’s attorney of Howard County, a job her father held while she was growing up. Her father was beloved in Howard County, and Lu believes she can live up to his legacy.
Brilliant and feisty, ambitious and smart, Lu sees the path to making a name for herself–the murder of a single woman by a disturbed homeless man. The case is pretty much cut and dried, just enough to help Lu make a real name for herself.
But as she investigates ahead of the trial, the case starts to play with her memories. Memories of her perfect brother and his just as perfect friends. And the night her brother defended his best friend, killing another boy in the process.
As the case progresses, Lu’s memories of her perfect family and her wonderful older brother start to unravel. What doesn’t she know? What was kept from her from that difficult year?
And, most importantly, what will the truth do to her family?
I really enjoy Laura Lippman’s books. The ones I’ve read are great mysteries, but they also include a dose of family, usually talking about how every family has secrets, even from each other, that have helped write the family story.
This one is no different in that regard. Secrets and lies and untruths.
Wilde Lake was deliriously fun to read. Mystery in a mystery, family drama without being too dramatic.
Lu Brandt is a character most mothers can understand and like. Her childhood is very Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, while her adult life is a drama about a woman trying to live up to her family name while trying to do the right thing.
Trying to do it all and be it all, work and home, but she’s doing it all in the public eye, with a huge family legacy hanging over her head. She’s doing it as a single parent, although she does have help from her father. I liked her, but I despised her at times as well. She’s a character with some depth and lots of flaws, like most of the people I know.
I enjoyed this book. I got wrapped up early on and couldn’t put it down. Discovering the mystery was one of the best parts of my week.
I give Wilde Lake 4 stars. A great rainy-day read for sure!!!
Other Book Facts
Book: Wilde Lake
Author: Laura Lippman
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016