Monday, January 6, 2014

The Deepest Secret

Title:  The Deepest Secret
Author:  Carla Buckley
Publication Information:  Bantam Books. 2014. 429 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program free of cost in exchange for an honest review. The book arrived as a paperback advance reader's edition.

Favorite Quote:  "But sometimes, the worst part is knowing - having all the ugly, undeniable facts spread out in clear view, and not being able to do a damned thing to change any of them."

What would you do to protect your child? How far would you go? That is the question at the heart of The Deepest Secret. Eve and David have two children. Melissa is teenager dealing with the struggles of growing up. Tyler is a young man with a disease that will probably be fatal before he reaches the age of 20.

The Lattimore family lives on a quiet cul-de-sec on a quiet suburban street. Tyler's condition is a rare sensitivity to light, one in which exposure to light could potentially kill him. There is no cure. David and Eve have created a home environment designed to keep Tyler safe - dark curtains, night activities, requests to neighbors about using lights, and restrictions on Melissa and Tyler.

David's job keeps him away much of the time. Eve is completely dedicated to Tyler's needs, and to shepherding Melissa through the teen years.

One day, an accident threatens the world Eve has so carefully built. Her decision and actions come from a need to protect her child, and yet have catastrophic effects for her and for those around her. By her decision, she creates a mystery and wreaks havoc in the lives of another family. In the ensuing events, the police get involved, and Melissa and Tyler get involved. It all spirals out of Eve's control.

The chapters move back and forth between the points of view of the different main characters - Eve, David, Tyler, and a few bring in some different perspectives. Eve is a mother trying to protect an ill child, mother her healthy child, and hold her marriage together. As she says, "How is a parent supposed to balance the needs of a healthy child against a fragile one? It can't ever be equal - not the time, nor the resources, nor the hours lying awake in the dark consumed by tangled thoughts - but the love can be exactly the same. The love has always been split precisely down the middle, an effortless divide."

David is away from home working most of the time. He struggles with the love for his family and the feeling that life has become about Tyler's illness to the exclusion of everything else - at least for Eve.

Tyler is the young man with a death sentence. Yet, he is also a teenager rebelling against the rules set by his mother to keep him safe.

The central theme of what you would do to protect your child touches the heart of any parent. The struggle between what is the right thing to do for your child versus what is the right to do period is Eve's dilemma. That emotional turmoil carries this book through the over 400 pages. I won't say where it ends up, but I don't think it could have ended any other way. I am glad that it did not.

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