Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Painted Table by Suzanne Field - REVEIWED

The Painted Table:
A beautiful heirloom ingrained with family memory has become a totem of a life Saffee would rather forget—a childhood disrupted by her mother’s mental illness. 
Saffee does not want the table. By the time she inherits the object of her mother’s obsession, the surface is thick with haphazard layers of paint, and heavy with unsettling memories.
After a childhood spent watching her mother slide steadily into insanity, painting and re-painting the ancient table, Saffee has come to fear that seeds of psychosis may lie dormant within her. But as an adult with a family of her own, Saffee must confront her mother's torment if she wants to defend herself against it.
Traversing four generations over the course of a century, The Painted Table is an epic portrait of inherited memory, proclivity, and guilt. It is a sprawling narrative affirmation that a family artifact—like a family member—can bear the marks of one’s entire past . . . as well as intimations of one's redemption.
My Thoughts:
So what are you going to do about it?”  (p. 203)

This question is asked of Saffee by her husband Jack at a very critical moment in the book.  Yet this is the question that is silently asked throughout the story as the Saffee’s family suffers the effects of mental illness. The author uses an inanimate object – a table – to represent this illness in a very powerful way that will surprise and thrill her readers!  This is a generational tale that spans a significant period of time, and yet it maintains a very intimate, personal feel to it throughout the novel. 

The reader watches the debilitating effects of the mental illness as it takes hold and transforms both the patient and her family.  Joann and Nels become a true picture of a lasting marriage, and I will always remember the scene on page 198 where Nels says to his daughter: “I promised to stick with her through thick and thin, and I will.”  It was SUCH a POWERFUL scene!  And when Jack asks Saffee, “So what are you going to do about it?” – it was as if you had the breath knocked out of you. 

I really can’t describe this book in a way that does it justice.  There is a spiritual depth that Saffee uncovers that is encouraging and challenging. Jack is SUCH an insightful and tender man, and you just love him to pieces by the end of the book! Saffee’s transformation as she reaches out to her mother just tears your heart in two with its true emotion. This is a painful story, yet it touches the heart of relationship in so many ways that it takes your breath away!!

And this is a debut novel!! I am SO EXCITED to discover this treasure of an author!! Get to know Suzanne Field TODAY!! The Painted Table….it is a MUST READ for 2014!!

About the Author:
Suzanne Field, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, has taught English as a Second Language in China, Ukraine, and Hawaii. She has also been a magazine editor and home-school teacher. She and her husband have five children and divide their time between Kansas and Hawaii where she is a tutor and mentor.

You can go HERE and learn more about her work!

Go HERE to buy a copy of this book!

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