Monday, August 1, 2016

She Poured Out Her Heart by Jean Thompson

Hardcover, 432 pages
Published May 31st 2016 by Blue Rider Press
National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson traces the complicated friendship of two very different women who meet in college. In the tradition of her bestselling novel The Year We Left Home, Thompson has crafted a novel of remarkable psychological suspense, cast with the kinds of deeply realized characters that have been heralded as “emotionally fluid” and “deeply familiar.”

The night that Jane and Bonnie meet on a college campus sets them on paths forever entwined. Bonnie, the wild and experimental one, always up for anything, has spent the past two decades bouncing between ill-fated relationships; while Jane, whose seemingly perfect life, perfect husband, and perfect children appear to have materialized out of a fantasy. But these appearances contradict the quiet, inescapable doubt Jane feels about her life. One night, in the middle of her own Christmas party, she steps outside into the snow, removes her clothing and shoes, and lies down in the backyard. When she is discovered, nothing is the same for anyone. As Jane begins to have visions and retreat into a private inner world, Bonnie finds herself drawn inevitably into an affair with Jane’s husband.

Thompson’s mastery of complex emotion begets a novel of desire and the nature of love—who we love, how we’re loved, and, most important, that we reach urgently and always for a higher love, regardless of our circumstances. She Poured Out Her Heart is a finely wrought, haunting story of female friendship and deception, and the distance in between.

My Thoughts…

Jane and Bonnie, friends since college, are leading very different lives.   Their lives are still intertwined but they have gone in different directions.  

I could relate to Jane’s life with the husband, kids, and running the household.      The stress, the exhaustion, and the hum drum of the same day after day are all things I could understand.   What I couldn’t understand is her feelings about being pregnant and raising the kids.    She struggles, she doesn’t ask for help (maybe she didn’t know she needed it), and she pretends all is well.    This explains so much of why her life changes.     There are major changes.  I was worried about her.   When her story ended I still continued to worry about her.  

Bonnie I could not relate to.   She lived a wild life.  She never settles down, except in her job which was chaotic to say the least.   While sticking her nose in everyone’s business, she didn’t hold herself accountable for her actions.      I value my friendships with my family, friends, and co-workers which is something that she did not do.      Even her best friend is not valued.     Her ending redeemed herself somewhat in my eyes although I think she still has a lot of  growing up to do.  

She Poured Her Heart Out is not a book for everyone.   I started it unsure of what I was going to read and found that I could not put it down.    

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