Friday, January 05, 2007


Tangerine by Marilynn Griffiths at first appears to be a chick-lit book. But this is misleading. Tangerine is extremely well written with multi-layered characters, realistic dialogue, a look at racial relations, plus a strong well defined message of faith. I was expecting this book to be another light, humorous read in the vein of Suri Mitchell or Kristen Billerbeck, but instead the book begins as Jean Guerra, a Vietnam vet, finds out that her 15-year-old daughter Monica is pregnant. Jean has to make a choice between continuing to fight for her husband's freedom from a false conviction that's thrown him into jail or her daughter's plight. She chooses her daughter and cuts off communication from her husband Nigel. Fast forward 15 years. Jean is working in the fashion industry on a new project for a big sporting goods company. When the rep from the company walks in, Jean is shocked to find that it's her husband, Nigel. Nigel, a man of faith, is in a relationship with Carmen. He's ambivalent about his feelings for Carmen, but because she makes him feel loved, he can't quite let her go. Jean and Nigel have never stopped loving each other, but the twenty years apart has damaged not just their relationship with each other, but their relationships with their daughter, granddaughter, and God. Griffiths does a terrific job of portraying both characters' yearning and anger for each other. They can hold hands and slip into bed together with ease; the physical portion of their marriage is easy to repair, but the physical affection doesn't make up for their resentments and pain. Each suffers from their own pain from serving in Vietnam, but they've never really opened up to the other about it. This main plot really drives the book, but their are multiple sub-plots of equal interest and strength. Griffiths deft writing and strong characterizations makes this book truly soar. The characters share their love and faith for God without seeming preachy. The ending is satisfying and leaves room for the sequel about Jean's boss Chenille. I can't wait to read it!


upwords said...

Thanks Christy!