Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wrecker by Summer Wood (review #120)

Wrecker by Summer Wood
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Fiction

What an extraordinary novel. I am so glad I signed on to do this tour. Before I go any further here is a description from the TLC Book Tour website.

After foster-parenting four young siblings a decade ago, Summer Wood tried to imagine a place where kids who are left alone or taken from their families would find the love and the family they deserve. For her, fiction was the tool to realize that world, and Wrecker, the central character in her second novel, is the abandoned child for whom life turns around in most unexpected ways. It’s June of 1965 when Wrecker enters the world. The war is raging in Vietnam, San Francisco is tripping toward flower power, and Lisa Fay, Wrecker’s birth mother, is knocked nearly sideways by life as a single parent in a city she can barely manage to navigate on her own. Three years later, she’s in prison, and Wrecker is left to bounce around in the system before he’s shipped off to live with distant relatives in the wilds of Humboldt County, California. When he arrives he’s scared and angry, exploding at the least thing, and quick to flee. Wrecker is the story of this boy and the motley group of isolated eccentrics who come together to raise him and become a family along the way.

This book had a feel to it that everything and nothing happened at the same time. Even though it spanned over 15 years, there was such a simplicity to the way the story was written. It wasn't a traumatic event one after the other, it just seemed that it was life; Wrecker's life. You take it. You leave it. You move on. Each character was touched on a bit and each got their moment in the sun, so to speak. I felt for each of them; Ruth's quirkiness, Melody's need for love, Willow's distance, Johnny's activism and Len's sorrow.
Their link was their love for Wrecker.
I especially felt for Wrecker. I just adored this character from the tough little 3 year old he starts out as to a smart, matter-of-fact, kind adult.
As a mother, this hit home. Summer Wood portrayed a unique blend of family. She carved out her own definition. I liked that Wrecker's biological mother, while in prison, was still very much his mother and not portrayed as a dead beat. She was a young woman who made a mistake and paid for it for 15 years away from her son.

They each cared for Wrecker in their own way and always knew the day would come when his mother would find him. The ending is quite simply life, as it happens; knowing, bittersweet and uneventful.

Review: 6/6
I highly recommend this book. It may not be for everyone but it hit home for me being a mother and putting such importance on family and caring for my child. It was a unique tale filled with a cast of eccentric yet heartwarming characters. It reads quick and when finished I was left a little sad that their story had ended. Summer Wood is a fresh voice in fiction and one I would read again.

Book Club Pick?
Yes. I think the core message here is that you create your own definition of family. That alone would get MY book club buzzing!

Don't miss the other stops on the tour:

Monday, April 18th: Scraps of Life

Tuesday, April 19th: Musings of an All Purpose Monkey

Thursday, April 21st: Book Club Classics!

Friday, April 22nd: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Monday, April 25th: In the Next Room

Tuesday, April 26th: Life in Review

Wednesday, April 27th: Boarding in my Forties

Thursday, April 28th: Red Headed Book Child

Monday, May 2nd: Joyfully Retired

Thursday, May 5th: Rundpinne

Monday, May 9th: Caribousmom

Tuesday, May 10th: Amused by Books

Wednesday, May 11th: I’m Booking It

Author Website:

The publisher has been kind enough to give away one copy of Wrecker to one of my readers. Please leave an email address and reside in the United States please.

Giveaway ends May 5.

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Julie@My5monkeys said...

sounds like a great story

aprilmom00 at gmail dot com

Jenny said...

Sounds like Wrecker is a character I'd like!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

From the author:

Dear Michelle,

What a wonderful review of my book, WRECKER! I'm totally honored, and grateful to you for the care and attention you spent reading the book and writing your response. I'm so glad you connected with the story and the characters, and think you really got to the heart of the matter: the question of what defines a family. Also, I was overjoyed to read "I liked that Wrecker's biological mother, while in prison, was still very much his mother and not portrayed as a dead beat. She was a young woman who made a mistake and paid for it for 15 years away from her son." So many readers interpret her through their own lenses of what they believe a mother "should" be, and write her off -- but I never felt that way toward Lisa Fay, and really appreciate your sensitive reading. You rock!
Keep up the good work,

nfmgirl said...

This one is on my Wish List. Please count me in. Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Audra said...

I def passed on this one b/c I thought it would be a little too much about trauma/abuse so I'm thrilled to see that Wrecker grew into a healthy adult -- complicated and challenging as it was -- am now adding this to my TBR!

Bailey said...

This book really looks intriguing! Great review. I linked to your review in my friday five post!

Bailey said...

oops sorry, I failed to mentioned I'd love to be included in the giveaway. thanks!!

thewindowseatreader (at) yahoo (dot) com

LisaMM said...

Michelle!! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book and gave it your highest rating! As an adoptive mom myself I'm happy to hear the birthmom is treated as a real person rather than a stereotype. Thank you so much for being on the tour. We really appreciate it.

Elisabeth said...

Wow, nice author compliment! Well deserved, your review tells me this is a must read. Please enter me, and thanks for the giveaway!

ladybook21 at yahoo dot com

Jill Buck said...

Count me in!
buckfamily at

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

of course i come in on the day the contest ended! i've heard such great things about this book! glad you gave it your highest rating too!