Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: Skylight Confessions

Skylight Confessions
By Alice Hoffman
Back Bay Books February 2008
288 pages
From my shelves

Skylight Confessions

Arlyn Singer is mourning the death of her father and vows that she will love and marry the next man she sees. When John Moody asks her for directions, they begin a passionate but tempestuous relationship. Together they move into "The Glass Slipper," an architectural wonder that is the Moody family home. The arrival of their son Sam does not bring them closer. Instead, John becomes more obsessed with his work and success and Arlyn and Sam are tragically lonely. After the birth of Blanca, Arlyn is diagnosed with cancer. Can this fragile family survive the pain of life and the hurt that they cause each other? 

Alice Hoffman is well known for her novel Practical Magic and she infuses her stories with a bit of magic. This book is no exception. From the opening pages, Arlyn is captivated by the idea of fate and true love. Her grief over losing her father is enormous but she is certain that she is about to meet the man she will love forever. As she reflects on her dad, she remembers the stories he used to tell her about people who could suddenly fly away in moments of danger. Images of birds and flying linger around the edges of the rest of this story - Arlyn's son Sam often sits on the roof as if he might fly away and the characters find bird feathers scattered around their home.

While there is magic on every page of this book, it is also achingly real. Arlyn and John have a broken relationship and their children suffer because of it. When Arlyn gets cancer, she knows that her children will not get the love and support that they need from John. A sense of loneliness lingers throughout this story, as the characters cannot or will not provide what their family members need from them. No magic spell can save them from the mistakes they make and the repercussions that will resonate through generations of the Moody family.

Skylight Confessions is the perfect read if you believe that magic is in the everyday and the barrier between life and death is not impermeable. This modern-day fairy tale shows readers the possibility of magic and the strength of love. 

12 comments:

  1. When I'm in the mood for one of Alice Hoffman's books I love them, but when I'm not...last month I started her book The Probable Future but I was too stressed out with work and I couldn't settle into the story...so I've put it aside until my life calms down a bit. This book sounds good, but also a little sad. Is it?

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    1. I can understand that. You have to be willing to suspend some belief and just immerse yourself in a story. I've really enjoyed the books of hers that I've read so far.

      It is a little sad. Many of the characters are trying to help people that they love and finding that there is just nothing they can do.

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  2. I have read many Alice Hoffman books, the older ones, and enjoyed them though most are melancholy. I like the sound of this one and will put it on my wishlist; thanks!

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    1. She is sort of a melancholy writer, isn't she? She has such a huge backlist to read through!

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  3. There was an era in my life when I read everything Alice Hoffman wrote, and I remember loving the bits of magic floating through her text. Thanks for alerting me to this one of her.

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    1. I think she is becoming one of my go-to author when I just need to disappear into a story for a while. Which one was your favorite?

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  4. This book sounds wonderful! I haven't actually read any of Alice Hoffman's work - I did try one but just wasn't in to it at the time. I really like the sound of this one though, I'll keep my eye out.
    :-)
    Bits & Bobs

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    1. Now I'm curious. Which one did you try??

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  5. A book that shows "the possibility of magic and the strength of love" sounds promising, but that is a really grim premise! I think I'm looking for something a little more upbeat, but I might visit this one at a later point.

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    1. Hoffman is a bit dark but I love her books. Have you read any of her books?

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  6. I love magical realism, but I've always avoided picking up Practical Magic because it sounds too sad and I think I might pass on this one for the same reason. Your last paragraph makes it sound like this could be a book I'd really enjoy, so I'm undecided. I'm glad that ended up enjoying it :)

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    1. I actually haven't read Practical Magic yet, but I think I like a little melancholy with my magical realism! I would say you should try an Alice Hoffman. You can always put it down if it's too sad...but you might find a new favorite author!

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