Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wildwood ~ by Drusilla Campbell, 2003

Three little girls kept a secret that still haunts their lives as they near menopause.  Hannah, age 12, was waiting for her friends Jeanne and Liz out by Bluegang Creek when 15-year-old Billy showed up.  When his sexual advances frightened her, Hannah pushed him away.  He fell, hitting his head on some rocks, and died.  Her friends heard Hannah scream and saw Billy's body when they came running, but what should they do now?  Liz wanted to tell an adult, but Jeanne and Hannah talked her out of it.

Decades later, as they approach menopause, Liz comes back from Belize to have an abortion, but mostly to talk to the two friends who are like family to her.  Liz has lived all over the world (running away, maybe?), but Hannah and Jeanne still live in their hometown.  Who are these women now?  Liz is a translator and runs from commitment, Hannah is a mother of teens but wants to adopt a crack baby, and Jeanne runs an elite school with her husband who is a womanizer.  Liz tries to discuss what the other two want to keep buried (literally), and it becomes obvious they have all been negatively affected by their secret.  But will Liz's attempts to talk about it ruin their lifelong friendship?

I read Wildwood, a 2003 novel by Drusilla Campbell, in less than a day because it really grabbed me.  Rated:  10 of 10, because I couldn't put down.

Later, when I picked up the nonfiction book I've been reading for several days, I immediately came across something that could have been written about Wildwood:
"By weathering major life shifts and learning how to thrive in evolving professional and personal situations, this generation [born 1945-1955] redefined middle age as a time of continued growth and transition.  Women of all ages have now come to accept transition and personal change as integral parts of life."
That quote is from page 88 of The Women who Broke All the Rules: How the Choices of a Generation Changed Our Lives by Susan B. Evans and Joan P. Avis, 1999.  I considered segueing into a second book review, right here in the middle of this post, but I'll restrain myself and write this one later.

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