Review: Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman

After nineteen years in California, March Murray returns to the small Massachusetts town where she grew up. For all this time, March has been avoiding her own troubled history, but when she encounters, Hollis – the boy she loved so desperately, the man who has never forgotten her – the past collides with the present as their reckless love is reignited. This dark romantic tale asks whether it is possible to survive a love that consumes you. The answers that March Murry discovers are both heartbreaking and wise, as complex as they are devastating – for in heaven and in our dreams, love is simple and glorious. But it is something altogether different here on earth…
This book was our book club read. Our group was divided with a few loving it and the rest thinking it was just ok. I was one of the few who loved it. Alice Hoffman’s writing draws you in from the very first page. She writes in a way that she can describe a scene without saying the words. It is easy to see why she is one of author, Jodi Picoult’s favorite writers. You can truly escape in her stories. Even though this story was depressing, sad, dark, cryptic, and frankly, without much hope for the characters, I still was riveted until the very last page. I could feel myself being drawn into the characters so much that when they were scared, I could feel my own chest tightening. Hoffman describes the feelings of power and control so well, from both perspectives, you can feel yourself right in the situation.
I had so many pages and quotes marked from this book, I just want to share a few with you:
Is this how fates are made and futures cast? An idle choice, a windy day, a dog that can’t mind his own business? Some people know the exact moment they lost everything. They can look back and see it plain as day and for the life of them can’t understand why they didn’t spot the situation as it was happening.
Among men and women, those in love do not always announce themselves, with declarations and vows. but they are the ones who weep when you’re gone. Who miss you every single night, especially when the sky is so deep and beautiful, and the ground so very cold.
All over town tonight, the wind will drive women from their beds. They’ll think of their first true love and search through their jewelry boxes for trinkets – gold lockets, ticket stubs, strands of hair. March would be one of those women, but instead she’s here, on the road where there were once so many foxes. If truth be told, she’s been here all this time, in their dark and windy place, like a ghost trapped inside the location of her memory.
Even though this book dealt with circumstances that most people would find sick or disgraceful, I found the story to be very believable. The subject matters were haunting and even though you didn’t want to think about what you were reading, you couldn’t stop turning the pages. I am curious to read other Hoffman novels and see more of her writings. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars, but also realize this story isn’t for everyone.
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