Friday, June 25, 2010

Belong To Me - Marisa de los Santos (audio)


I have to make you laugh. OK, so you may remember me babbling and gushing amidst a Sunday Salon or two about the perfectness of Belong To Me on audio. I was closing in on the end today, so before my sweaty five mile walk, I wanted to be sure I had the latest Elizabeth George thriller, This Body of Death, loaded and ready to go in case I finished mid-journey. I deleted all but the last disc of Belong To Me as well, just to clean things up. The iPod was synched and I was ready to go. To my horror, I realized about 2.5 miles into my walk, that there were not 12 discs to this book, but 13, and had deleted THE ENDING!!!! So I started This Body of Death, but my heart wasn't into it. I was crushed. Luckily, I also had the printed version of Belong To Me at home, so I stormed in from my walk, smelling like a camel, grabbed the book, laid down on the floor right then and there, and finished it. The day was saved. This novel was THAT good.

The book starts out 2 1/2 years after the end of Love Walked In, with Cornelia, Tao and Clare. Boy did I miss those guys. Cornelia and Tao have moved to the burbs, and Cornelia is attempting to make some new friends, but failing miserably. Leading the charge in her misery is Piper, the neighborhood b*tch...perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect kids, and a derision for anything or anybody that doesn't conform to her perfect world. Cornelia does meet and make friends with Lake, a single mom with a 14-year-old son, Dev, who is just about as lovable and charming as Clare. In fact, when Clare comes to visit Cornelia and Tao over Thanksgiving, cupid strikes the two precocious teenagers, and a connection is made.

But obviously, that is just the tip of the iceberg. There is the issue with Dev's paternity, and his emotional and physical pursuit to unearth the truth. There is Piper's life, spent supporting her best friend as she battles cancer. There is Cornelia's quest to find a friend, and to have a baby. There are real-life, devastating issues in there. It is rare that an audio will bring tears to my eyes, but this one did.

The book is narrated in several different voices...Dev, Piper, and Cornelia of course. Santos has a special gift of bringing characters to life, making them so human, so raw, so flawed, so memorable, so endearing. You wish you had these people in your life. One unique twist to this story is Piper's perspective. In any other book, she would be the token antagonist, there to absorb our ire. But with Santos, we see behind the manicured exterior and learn to love her.

The narrator in this audio book is the same one that annoyed me at the beginning of Love Walked In. Only this time, I get it. I get Cornelia, I get the narrator, and I love it all. I wouldn't have another narrator.

I suppose Santos' novels would be considered "women's fiction", a genre I enjoy. But I almost feel that minimizes her gift. She is the proverbial cherry on top of the banana split, the extra 20% of cacao in your chocolate souffle, the decoder pen in your box of Lucky Charms. She just has that extra little something that takes a story from good to great, and makes it stand out above the rest. I won't be forgetting Love Walked In or Belong To Me for a very long time.

5 out of 5 stars



21 comments:

Melody said...

I'm glad you have the printed version!

I read Love Walked In some time ago but haven't got around to reading this yet. After reading your review, I'll have to move it up the pile.

Susan said...

I love books where the antagonist isn't one-dimensional. Even bad people have some redeeming qualities...somewhere. This sounds like a good summer read. Thanks, Sandy!

Beth F said...

LOL!!! OMG -- the horror of being out on a walk and missing the ending.

I really, really, really need to listen to de los Santos. I have the books. Bad me.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

Call me a doofus, but it has never occurred to me to listen to audiobooks as I walk. Doh!

Julie P. said...

I so agree with you. I thought the characters were very well developed and I love her writing.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree - this was one of the best books I've read this year! I love this author!

JoAnn said...

How frustrating not to have then ending!!! I must read/listen to these novels.

Zibilee said...

Oh no! You must have been so mad that you deleted the ending!! Good thing you had the book at home!! I am so glad to hear that you loved these books. It's always so wonderful to fall into a book by a beloved author, and know that you are in for a great ride. You also wrote a wonderfully enthusiastic review, and I will be checking these books out! Thanks, Sandy!!

ds said...

Love the image of you storming in from your walk, grabbing the book and flopping on the floor to read! Perfect.

The Bumbles said...

I think it's pretty cool that you got the experience the book across two mediums and still loved loved loved it!

That always happens to me too - I finally decide to get organized and then find out later that I threw out something very important.

Ti said...

That last paragraph pretty much sums it up. LOL.

I abandoned this book but not on purpose. I was loving it but got distracted by life and never went back to it. I plan to.

I feel like a goof too because when I befriended the author on Facebook I was like, "Oh yeah, and I am reading your book right now...blah blah." Yep.

bermudaonion said...

What a horrible feeling to be out on your walk and not have the ending of your book!!

I loved Love Walked In and have had Belong to Me ever since I finished that one! Sounds like I need to get to it pronto!

Jen - devourer of books said...

Thank goodness for one book in multiple formats! I loved this in print, glad to know you loved it as much or more in audio.

Laura @ I'm Booking It said...

I'm so glad you had the printed book at hand!

I loved these books, and I can see that they would have been great as audio.

heatherlo said...

I LOVED these books so much. I agree that technically they are considered "women's fiction" but they are so much more than that, I think. Nothing against that genre (I enjoy it too!), it's just that I think de los Santos is a bit deeper than most women's fictions novels go. Loved your review.

Jenners said...

I'm with you ... de los Santo's elevates women's fiction. And I loved what she did with Piper in this book!! I hope she continues on with these characters.

Kim Frazier said...

I realize I am a few days behind on your blog, Sandy and I'm attempting to get caught up on the important things in my life. I loved this book b/c it is such a good book abt friendship. Not all of our friends are what they seem and no one is truly good or completely bad. I could not wait for you to review this and almost missed it!

diaryofaneccentric said...

You know, I never really felt like I needed to read these books, but you've sold me! If only there was more time in the day to read!

Serena said...

LOL! "smelling like a camel"

This sounds like a great book...thanks for the audio recommendation.

Darlene said...

I read Love Walked In years ago and just loved it. I really need to read this one. I'd love to see what they're all up to now.

Marg said...

I am stopping by very late, but thought I would share my own ending story. A number of years ago now I was listening to Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides on tape and it all went well until the last tape broke! In order to finish the book I had to go to the library and read the last 40 or so pages there!

I read this book earlier this year and really loved it. Can't wait to read her next book.