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Things We Didn’t Say ~ Kristina Riggle

July 11, 2011

Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
352 pages
ISBN: 9780062003041
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours 

Step parenting isn’t easy under the most congenial terms, Casey knows that. The problem is, things are rarely congenial. As she grows in her relationship with her fiancé and his three children, Casey is thrown into a whirlwind of emotion involving teenagers and a very “dynamic” ex-wife.

In the middle of making sense of chaos and sorting out her own jumbled past, Casey is thrown another curve ball in the form of her fiancé’s second child and only son turning up missing.  As if her husband’s rather unstable ex needs any more fuel on her fire, the events of the disappearance, send her into a total tailspin, turning the entire household upside down.

Through this hyper-paced family drama, Casey struggles with her emotions regarding her family of origin and her impending place in this new, volatile family. As the storm rages around her, she works to define what “family” means in the best of times, the worst of times and everywhere in between.

Though I am a child of divorce, I can hardly say that my parents’ split was novel-worthy. I have been around the block, enough, however, to know that this story is far from unrealistic. Riggle does an excellent job of telling the story through revolving eyes as each family member passes the torch, eventually painting an evolving, three dimensional view of the situation.

I found each person to be relatable, though sometimes, their flaws were a bit exasperating. Mallory, the ex-wife at the center of it all, is a bit hard to handle in her narcissism and irrationality. Although, I don’t think that my annoyance was always with her but with the family members, and even Casey, who allowed and enabled her totally outlandish behavior. Again, though, the problem lies in not “what do we wish people would do in a perfect situation” but “how do people act in fear, loneliness and love” even though they can see the mistakes as they are making them.

Things We Didn’t Say is a beautiful but tough story, especially as a parent and partner. I highly recommend it to those who like a fast-paced yet deep journey through family struggles, though, again, it’s not really for the faint of heart.

About Kristina Riggle

Kristina Riggle lives and writes in West Michigan. Besides her debut novel, Real Life & Liars, she has published short stories in the Cimarron Review, Literary Mama, Espresso Fiction, and elsewhere. She is also a freelance journalist writing primarily for The Grand Rapids Press, and coeditor for fiction at Literary Mama. Kristina was a full-time newspaper reporter for seven years before turning her attention to creative writing and freelancing. As well as writing, she enjoys spending lots of time with her husband, two kids, and dog.

Real Life & Liars is set in Charlevoix, Michigan, a town close to Kristina’s heart as the home of her grandparents where she has visited often over the years. Some recognizable Charlevoix landmarks appear in the novel, as well as fictionalized versions of real places. The home of the Zielinski family on Dixon Avenue is based loosely on the house where her grandmother grew up.

Visit Kristina at her website and like her on Facebook.

Kristina’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, June 28th: As I turn the pages

Thursday, June 30th: Books Like Breathing

Monday, July 4th: Debbie’s Book Bag

Tuesday, July 5th: StephTheBookworm

Wednesday, July 6th: I’m Booking It

Thursday, July 7th: Life in the Thumb

Monday, July 11th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Tuesday, July 12th: Book Club Classics!

Wednesday, July 13th: The Book Chick

Friday, July 15th: Colloquium

Sunday, July 17th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2011 2:10 pm

    My parent’s divorce had enough drama, I’m glad it wasn’t anything like the one portrayed in this book. As you say, this one certainly rang true, although in a very uncomfortable way.

    In the end I found it satisfying, it sounds like you did too.

  2. July 11, 2011 8:27 pm

    I just got this today, so I’m excited to see it’s so good!

  3. July 13, 2011 11:29 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one! Thanks for being on the tour.

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