"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

12 August 2010

The Language of Secrets

Dixon, Dianne. The Language of Secrets. New York: Double Day, 2010.

Newly married, Justin is bringing his wife and son back to visit his parents, whom he has not seen in many years. He follows a trail from the house where he grew up, to a nursing home, to his sister's home, where she slams the door in his face, and finally to a graveyard, where he sees three headstones: one for his father, one for his mother, and one for himsellf. Thus begins a journey were Justin searches for answers to the impossible: how could he be dead already?

This was an interesting story, with enough plot twists to keep me reading. I can relate to the protagonist's idea of seeing his personal history "like looking at a piece of black paper with holes punched in it." He only has a few scattered memories of toddlerhood and then his life as a college student. Everything else between is blank, until he begins to have flashbacks, flashbacks that don't add up, don't make sense, until he puts all the pieces together.

I enjoyed reading Justin's journey to discovery as his chapters, with a modern setting, alternated with chapters of his history. I also appreciated how Justin was able to disprove the theme of the story: "Home was the place in which you were rooted by your beginnings, in which you were locked by your earliest consciousness. It marked and branded you. And if it was a broken, desolate place . . . it would leave you hungry and dangerous, and punished, for the rest of your life" (218). Justin chose to break this cycle. He chose not to be hungry, dangerous, punished, or trapped for the rest of his life.

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