I received a copy of Shelter Us by Laura Nicole Diamond in exchange for an honest review.
Lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Sarah Shaw is struggling to keep it together for her two young sons and law professor husband. Since the death of their infant daughter, her husband has been buried in his career, her friendships have withered, and Sarah remains lost in a private world of grief. Then one day walking in L.A., Sarah’s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless woman pushing a baby in a stroller―and saving them becomes her obsessive mission. An unlikely bond grows between Sarah and the young mother, Josie. When tragedy threatens Josie, Sarah discovers that she is capable of deceptions and transgressions she never imagined. Her lies unleash a downward spiral that will threaten her marriage, family and her sanity. Shelter Us speaks to the quiet joys and anxieties of parenthood and illuminates a place all parents know: that shadowy space between unconditional love and fear of unbearable loss.
Laura Nicole Diamond’s Shelter Us is beautifully written. At times more like prose poetry than novel. The most mundane moments become something different.
She exhales, purses her lips, and then complies. She tries to buckle him, but he rebels, wiggling and slithering until he falls out of the seat onto the floor of the car and bumps his chin. He let out a wail.
This to describe a mother putting a child in a car seat. But this is what makes Diamond’s writing interesting, her ability to make art out of every moment. Even though, the characters are motivated by an unthinkable tragedy, the loss of their baby daughter, little about the book is actually about that small human being. This book is more about the everyday moments that break our hearts and less about the huge disasters. It is all about what people do in their everyday lives to cope with the many small catastrophes and miscommunications. It is more about how we go about creating safe shelter when life reveals its fickle nature, when the rose colored glasses are removed and we see that safety is an illusion and danger can strike at any time.
Not really an uplifting thought. I know. But Shelter Us is not one of those lighthearted, easy going books that supports our belief in happy thoughts and hopeful dreams. Shelter Us is an exploration of how we survive. Survival is not always hopeful. Yet the glimmer here is that if we survive there is a chance for something good. Life just might have some belly laugh surprises left that make some of the pain worth it.
There is shelter. But it may not be what you expect. I liked this book, but it is admittedly not in my preferred wheelhouse. Nonetheless. It is beautiful, engaging, quick reading, that resonates and illuminates. Not a summer beach read, but something to consider for those moments when you need to reflect. There is something here to see.
Quick points I loved:
*Multiethnic main character, complicates any simple understanding of life
*Unashamed ex-attorney, stay-at-home-mom, meets the notion of the superwoman head on
*Infidelity, won’t tell you exactly, but I like the twist here
*Grief, there is a moment in this book that makes the entire book worth reading in itself
This is a book you will want to talk about. Great reading for book clubs and literary chatty cathys. I’d love to hear your comments as you finish reading. Comment here, tweet me, post to my page, or email!