I Smile Back
by Amy Koppelman
Paperback- $13.18

In the follow-up to her acclaimed debut, which drew comparisons from critics to The Bell Jar and The Awakening, Amy Koppelman delivers an aggressive ...

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  "A strange tale of drug abuse, sexual misconduct & just plain craziness." by bchamplin (see profile) 04/07/09

WOW! What a mess! I really like to read up & coming authors. You never know what your going to run across before they "make it". However, I wasn't all into this book. I found the main character just not my cup of tea. I see Laney was written to be "not likable".
I understand she was a victim herself of a father who abandoned her and I understand that she brought a lot of this behavior on herself, but I felt the story didn't go deep enough. I didn't feel as if I knew Laney well enough nor was there enough detail to understand where all this crazy behavior was coming from. I know women who were raised without fathers who do not act like this. There was some feeling of Laney being sexually abused by the father but that was never clear. Her husband, her friends, all suffered at her hands whether they knew it or not.
After seeing what all this baggage has done to her, I can't understand why Laney isn't trying to avoid this with her own children.Instead she seems to be doing worse with them. (Laney having sex with her child's toys, that is just plain revolting. I hope she threw the bear away!! Come on Amy, you have children.) She doesn't know what love is or how to give it to her children. She ends up abandoning them, just as her father did. Which in her case that was probably a good idea. If this is "a modern suburban woman" then I want no part of it.

 
  "I Smile Back" by awolfe0503 (see profile) 05/14/09

This was a dark and depressing look in to the life of a woman that by all appearances is happy and normal. I liked the book because it was realistic. Not everyone is successful in rehab, not everyone learns from their mistakes, not everyone lives happily ever after. There are women who do feel trapped in the life they are living and feel like they need an escape. Most women would maybe have a Girl's Night Out, not bang her best friends husband, but obviously Laney doesn't deal with situations the way most people would. To say she has issues is an understatement. On a lighter note, this book did make me wonder about all the "PTA" moms that I know.

 
  "I Smile Back" by ezzie36330 (see profile) 05/18/09

I would not recommend this book for clubs who do not wish to discuss graphic content. This book was a good read, but very graphic. I like the way that the author did not just gloss over the dirty truths that go along with addictions the way that some authors do. This book gives you insight into the long hard road that is rehabilitation and makes you ask the question is complete rehabilitation ever really possible.

 
  "I Smile Back" by lesliemich (see profile) 06/12/09

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