Tag Archives: Myla Goldberg

Old book brings new pleasures…

“I hope you didn’t spend money on a hardback book,” was my Mom’s comment last year, after I put my box full of Christmas gifts in the mail.  Her perspective: hardback books cost too much money!  She can go to the used book store and get the same story for a fraction of the cost.  My perspective:  with the discounts offered these days, hardback books cost less than almost any other entertainment, they last longer, and you can enjoy them again and again.

Which is why, when I bundled up this year’s presents, I filled the box the rest of the way with books from my own bookshelves.  All trade paperbacks, in deference to her preference.  (The wrapped present was a copy of the fascinating The False Friend by Myla Goldberg…because only when I give her a brand-new book am I guaranteed not to give her something she already has!)

One I did not give her was Jane Hamilton’s Disobedience. I plucked it off the shelf, opened it to remind myself what it was about and to see if it was “Mom-worthy,” and realized that I had never read it.  Evidently I bought it and shelved it!

Wow.  What a great book.   It’s a terrific story, very well-written, with insight into what makes people tick and what holds a family together.   Disobedience is told in first person by Henry, a 17-old-boy who has discovered that his mother (a charming, lovely, and strong-willed musician) is having an affair.  Dad seems clueless, but turns out to be not only clued-in, but possibly the most generous, loving and patient man on the planet.  Younger sister Elvira is deeply committed to civil war re-enactment, with Dad’s blessing, and masquerades as a boy to do so. All characters – including relatively minor ones – are well-drawn and believable.

Disobedience is a book that makes me wish I were in a book club; it would be wonderful to discuss it!  Alas, I am not, and I probably missed the boat on discussing the book, as it was published in 2001.