Book Review: Home in the Morning, Mary Glickman

Cannonball Read: 35

Home in the Morning by Mary Glickman is the kind of book that I am drawn to. It’s the story of a young Jewish man, Jackson Sassaport, growing up in the South. It’s the story of his wife, Stella, a young Jewish woman who enters Jackson’s Southern life. And it’s the story of Katherine Marie, a young Black woman growing up in the South. Some of my favorite elements are explored in this novel — the complexity of human relationships, time and its bearing on forgiveness, the South, the US’s history of racism — all converged in one place. This is the story of Jackson’s relationship with Stella and his relationship with Katherine Marie, and the relationship the two women forge with one another. The publisher describes at as such: “A powerful debut from a new literary talent, this novel tells the story of a Jewish family confronting the tumult of the 1960sโ€”and the secrets that bind its members together.”

There are, indeed, many secrets in this novel, so there is much explore when it comes to these things hidden, and Glickman does it well. Her writing is fresh and, while it can be difficult to get through in some spots, it’s a fantastic story she’s woven, using characters I liked.

This is Glickman’s seventh novel, but the just the first she’s had published, and I am honestly surprised by this. I really thought this novel was excellent. I liked the characters and thought they were real enough (although there were a few times where I wanted to smack Jackson and Stella in their heads!), and there were several moments where I was so caught up in the story and some of the injustices that I was left angry and breathless. So when I was reading the author information at the end of the ebook I received, I was pretty surprised to find that she had only published this one novel. I would be very interested in reading her other works, and I hope that the success of this novel will allow her to publish other works.

One thing that I found really unique about this novel was the way it presented dialogue — with no quotation marks. I’ve read several reviews that said this was bothersome, but I found it to be a really unique part of the story, and I appreciated that it made me slow down while I was reading in order to focus on the content of the story. It’s something that others might not find aesthetically pleasing but it was a very successful tool for me.

My biggest bone to pick with this novel (and really, it’s my only) is the WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED ending. I am a huge fan and supporter of endings that don’t tie up loosely. I like it (well, I use the term “like” very loosely in this context!) when people die in books. I love the less-than-perfect when it happens. But the ending of this book? No. Just no. Not only does it not tie up, neatly or at all, but it fails to read as an ending. It feels like a chapter or two should follow, or that the author just ran out of steam. That really ruffled my feathers when I got there. Truthfully, I was more irritated by the random photos of Glickman’s family at the end of the book than I was amused by them. I JUST WANTED MORE WORDS.

Crappy ending aside, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is looking for an intriguing look at the South during its more blatantly racist days. It’s not your typical novel that deals with a white, Christian family in the South.

If you are interested in learning more about Mary Glickman, you can find more information at her page on her publisher’s website or on her Facebook page

Rating: 8.5/10 (those damn endings — they ruin otherwise excellent novels!)

I received this book in exchange for a review from NetGalley. I was not asked to make a positive review, only an honest one.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Book Review: Home in the Morning, Mary Glickman

  1. Pingback: Krista’s CRB-III Review #35 – Home in the Morning, Mary Glickman | Cannonball Read III

  2. Pingback: Krista’s CBR-III Review #35 – Home in the Morning, Mary Glickman | Cannonball Read III

  3. mary.glickman

    Krista. I know it’s a really verbottten thing for an author to respond to a review but I’ve been bursting with this and your blog seems a good place to let go. First off, thank you so much for your review! I’m so happy you “got” what I was doing. But I must explain the ending. I’ve had a lot of complaints about the ending (really, the only complaint I take seriously) and I just want to say that the reason I ended it there was because I thought of the novel as a relationship novel and to continue would put it in the realm of “courtroom procedural” which I didn’t want to do. And since I thought Mombasa’s ultimate fate was probably dark, I didn’t want to leave the characters without hope. But excuses aside, if I had it to do over again. . .I would have squeaked out a couple more chapters (well, at least one). One thing about being published is that you can’t go back! It’s out there as it lays. I also think paperback readers had less trouble with this than Kindle readers as with a Kindle, no matter the little percentage thingie at the bottom, you’re not so aware of when the end is coming as one might be if one is holding the pages themselves. So sorry if I frustrated you. Live and learn. I hope you’ll give my next novel, One More River, a chance when it comes out this fall. It’s not a sequel but what I call a companion piece to Morning and features some of the same characters. And. . .it has a very satisfying ending!! Thanks again for reading and reviewing.

    • Krista

      Hi Mary,

      I have no problem with author comments on my reviews as long as they aren’t flaming! ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate your reply. I did get the sense that it was a very character-driven novel, and I think that is its biggest strength.

      I will absolutely be checking out your next book. I really enjoyed Home in the Morning, and even if I was dissatisfied with the ending, I’d rather enjoy 98% of a book and feel a little bummed at the end that only feel meh about the book all the way through! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Happy writing and reading,
      Krista

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