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In the tradition of The Good Mother and The Deep End of the Ocean, Anne D. LeClaire delivers a heartbreaking–and breathtaking–novel of two very different but equally loving mothers who face the most painful of losses and then find the courage not only to go on but to find meaning and hope in their lives.Rose Nelson is a middle-aged woman with a broken past, a sorrow from which she cannot recover. Secretly guilty about her role in her teenaged son’s death five years ago, she has sealed herself off from life, enveloped by a grief that has slowly eaten away at her relationship with her husband.Against her will, Rose is drawn into the world she has avoided when Opal Gates and her five-year-old son, Zack, move in next door. Determined to start an independent life for herself, twenty-year-old Opal has left her family and the father of her son in North Carolina. But when she quickly begins an affair with Tyrone Miller, a part-time mechanic and local musician, Opal unwittingly breaks the tacit rules of both her family and her new hometown.Initially, Rose cannot bear the sight of Opal and her son. But later when Zack is injured, she instinctively lies to protect Opal from a single mistake that changes the lives of everyone involved.Faced with a custody suit brought by Zack’s father and her own parents, Opal faces a trial in which each choice she has made will be used as ammunition in the battle to take Zack away from her. Confronting such devastating loss and the questions it poses are at the heart of Entering Normal. How does one go on after great tragedy? What is a family? What sacrifices must a mother be willing to make for her child? And how can a good mother sometimes make bad choices? Entering Normal is a story of family, a novel about courage, loss, risk, and betrayal. It is a story that goes to the heart of love.From the Hardcover edition.read more
I loved this book, although sometimes it was just too sad. Rose is a 50-something housewife whose son Todd died in an automobile accident five years ago. Opal is a 20-year-old single parent with a 5-year-old son who has left her family in North Carolina to settle in Normal, Massachusetts, in an effort to gain some independence and distance herself from the criticism of her mother. Very unilikely friends you might think--you'd be wrong.read more
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An emotional wallop comparable to that produced by Sue Miller's The Good Mother or Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World awaits readers of LeClaire's latest (after Sideshow, etc.). In the small town of Normal, Mass., Rose Nelson has never ceased grieving over the accidental death of her teenage son, Todd. Years of unremitting grief and compulsive housecleaning have dismayed and frustrated her devoted husband, Ned, who tries to lose himself in work at the filling station he owns. Rose notices a peculiar itch around a mole that could indicate cancer, but tries to dismiss it because she doesn't trust drugs or doctors. At the same time, 20-year-old Opal Gates arrives in town with her young son, Zack, in tow. On the lam from her boyfriend, Billy, and her nagging mother in New Zion, N.C., stubborn, flighty Opal has landed in Normal because that's how far exactly three full tanks of gas have taken her chance and signs are central to her life. When she rents the house next door to the Nelsons, prudent Rose observes that "girls like Opal suck trouble to them" and resolves not to get involved. Though striving for independence and ambivalent about a new romance, Opal does seem fated to attract trouble. First, Zack breaks his arm when she sneaks out to the store while he's sleeping; then Billy, with Opal's parents' help, files a custody suit. The tentative friendship that slowly develops between Opal and Rose sustains both women as they face new obstacles and old demons, and the saga of these endearing (if at times frustrating) characters will hold readers' interest right up to the bittersweet ending. Agent, Deborah Schneider. (June 6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved