Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Year Everything Changed

The Year Everything Changed, by Georgia Bockoven.

Lucy took the paper. Fifteen years ago Jessie found his oldest daughter living in Fresno and called her. She'd refused to have anything to do with him. She told him she would get a restraining order if he ever tried to see her. His letters were returned unopened. After a year he stopped trying.

When they'd gone over the information the detective would need to find Jessie's four daughters, Lucy asked if Elizabeth was the only one he'd ever tried to contact. She simply couldn't believe the man she knew would abandon his children the way her father had abandoned her. Jessie had hesitated before answering, plainly upset by the question. She'd let it go then. Now she decided to try again.

Jessie Reed is dying, but before he goes, he wants to see his four daughters again. None of them know the other exist, and some of them don't even know that he is their biological father. He has his attorney, Lucy, find the girls, and then send them a ticket to Sacramento so that he can see them one last time. When the girls arrive, they are astonished to find that there are four of them, ranging in age from 48 (Elizabeth) to 23 or so (Christina), and Elizabeth, the woman that perhaps knew him for the longest as her father figure, storms out of the office. The other three meet him, which is fortuitous, because he dies shortly after.

Lucy is sneaky and adds an addendum to their father's will, which leaves each of the sisters $10 million each: they must meet up once a month, together, to listen to the tapes he made of his life story, before they are eligible to receive their inheritances. The women are all wary of this at first, but soon they find that they actually do like each other, and there is a lot about Jessie that none of them ever knew.

This book was interesting because I had never read a story like this before. There are definitely stories out there of children not knowing they were adopted, or not knowing they had a brother or sister, but I was interested in seeing how not one, but FOUR women would not know they had (half-)sisters out in the world. Bockoven develops each of these characters, as well as Jessie, over the course of the narrative, and their stories slowly begin to entwine with each other's.

I could definitely see this book being made into a movie, and when I was reading it I was picturing Tom Selleck in the role of Jessie.

The Year Everything Changed will be in bookstores this Tuesday, August 23rd. I will be interviewing Georgia Bockoven as well in the next few weeks, so watch this blog for that interview.

3.5 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book to review. The opinions listed, however, are all mine.


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