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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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History of Wolves
Emily Fridlund
Gather the Daughters: A Novel
Jennie Melamed

The Lost Mother: A Novel

The Lost Mother - Mary McGarry Morris Comparisons run wild in the world of art. Music labels try to convice eager listeners that they have discovered the next U2. Galleries are filled with the paintings of the next Picasso. And every publisher in the world has the next Harry Potter in the works. If a comparison can be made, it is exploited.I'd like to say that I am beyond such corporate trickery. Unfortunately, everytime I come across "the next [insert favorite band, artist, author here]" I find myself disappointed. Sometimes they're okay, maybe even good, but great? Never. Nothing ever compares to the artist who opened my eyes to a new world.I should have known better when the first sentence in the jacket of Mary McGarry Morris' most recent novel compared her to John Steinbeck. Of course she wouldn't be Steinbeck. None of my favorite authors are Steinbeck, so why would I expect Ms. Morris to be? Having this comparison in mind from the onset of my reading, however, made it difficult to dismiss.I can see how the connection was made: the plot of The Lost Mother is similar in nature to some of Steinbeck's novels. It is the story of a stressed mother who leaves her husband and two children to distance herself from all she hates about rural living. The Depression happens and the family loses everything. Of course it only gets worse with corruption, imprisonment, and tons of disappoinment. And just like Steinbeck, there is that ray of hope that shines through despite everything. But the plot is the only element that can be compared.Morris' writing style is quite dry. It is simple—no more than a narrative of an event with few extra words or insights. Despite its promise, The Lost Mother barely touched upon my emotions or my logic.The Lost Mother is not for those who like a like-hearted read. It's also not for those who wish to be challenged. It is for that rare breed who enjoys a somber story, but doesn't wish to be provoked: a rare audience indeed.For more reviews, visit TheLiterarySnob.com.