Friday, October 4, 2019

Book Review: Twine

By Sara Steven

When Juniper Kowalski, a mediocre artist and graduate of one of the best art schools in the country, gets pregnant by her married lover, she ends up back in Gobles, Michigan, living in her dead grandma’s trailer. She fears that her new life as a hotel maid, and as the best friend of a subrural call girl, has fulfilled some bleak fate. But Juniper’s pregnancy also ignites a will to create. Every hurt that she’s ever suffered begins to emerge as confrontational, public art.

Family lore has taught Juniper disdain for men. But it’s not hatred for her absent father, abusive grandpa, or even her baby daddy, causing her issues. It’s facing actual love from a big, flawed, breathtaking man. “Twine” celebrates a quietly radical view of small-town life, ambition, and motherhood. It is the story of a young woman who needs no hero, and what she does when he shows up anyway. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

There was a subtle charm to Twine, an underlying quiet within a world of noise and chaos. I felt at peace, like I wanted to take more than just a moment to appreciate and respect what I have around me, who I have around me. Juniper brought that out in me.

You can’t typecast Juniper. It would be too easy to categorize her as just a young, unwed mother. There is a spark there that goes beyond her circumstances, and in many ways, representative of so many of us who choose to stop going for our dreams and aspirations, because we’ve placed ourselves inside a labelled box. Juniper blends it all together, making it feel attainable, and real. She finds herself in less than ideal situations, but can’t sink. She won’t allow it. There is plenty of struggle and many hard times, but there is good there, too.

Much of Twine is representative of the relationships had within our families, particularly mothers and daughters. The bond that can be present there. I could see the effects of Juniper’s childhood, how at times she is the one who parents her mother, a dynamic that has made Juniper a much more mature individual, given her young age. The way she strives to find a way out of the patterns she’s seen growing up where men are concerned. It’s a major reason she is hesitant when the “big, flawed, breathtaking man” comes into her life. From her experiences, nothing good can come from a relationship. But she can’t help but find herself in one, anyway.

I appreciate how the synopsis focuses on the fact that Juniper doesn’t need someone to save her. She really doesn’t. What she needs is someone to show her that there is real love in the world, and while this may come from romantic relationships, it’s the bonds of family that are the building blocks, all along. Twine was a different type of novel, quirky and at some moments, unrefined, that aforementioned subtle charm that really hooked me. I loved the honesty and tenacious attitude of Juniper, a worthy five-star read.

Thanks to SparkPoint Studio for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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