Thursday, August 26, 2010

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

Do not dismiss Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos just because it
a) was a New York Times bestseller
b) has a cute photograph on its cover (see?)

It is really good. Occasionally I'd have to stop reading just because I felt overloaded by ideas, as if I were having a in-depth conversation with a large group of friends. Bookreporter explains the premise of Belong To Me than I can:
Cornelia and her husband Teo have just moved from New York to a sleepy, upper-class Philadelphia suburb, and she’s having a bit of trouble fitting in. She misses the pace, creativity and intellectual stimulation of the city and finds little in common with the other women, wives of professional men, she comes into contact with. She’s particularly put off by her snotty neighbor, Piper Truitt. But when she meets the eccentric Lake, a single mom also new to town, she has hope that a solid friendship is developing.
But the reasons why the characters are thrown together were secondary to my enjoyment; I just liked to hear them talk.

This is an excerpt of one of my favorite parts, a conversation between teen genius Dev, and Cornelia, who occasionally narrates Belong To Me:
Dev: "So, I guess that the word 'sonnet' comes from sonnetto, which means 'little song' in Italian? But I don't think a sonnet's that much like a song. It's so short, and it just doesn't feel like a song . . ."
Cornelia: "So what do you think a better name would be?" ...
Dev: "I've been thinking 'little box,' . . . Like with 'Design,' Frost is worried that there is no design, no shape to what happens, so he does what he knows how to do: he puts the worry into a poem that has a small, really definite shape. Fourteen lines. . . "
Cornelia: "... So you're thinking that a sonnet is a way of distilling a big idea or emotion until it fits in a tiny box."

Cornelia made her debut in Love Walks In, but I didn't think reading that first was at all necessary (and haven't read it yet, actually). But strictly chronological readers can consider themselves warned.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I read 'Belong to Me' right after reading Ellen's favorable review here and thought it was great. I read straight through (well, off and on with gardening in between) last weekend. Readers who enjoy Jennifer Weiner,('Good in Bed') will enjoy Ms. de los Santos' books