Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon

The Language of Secrets
Title:  The Language of Secrets
Author:  Dianne Dixon
Publisher:  Doubleday
Publication Date:  March 2010
Format:  Hardcover, 272 pages
Age Group:  Adult

Justin Fisher has holes in his memories.  He remembers his parents and sisters and the house where he spent his earliest childhood but he cannot remember the years between then and when he went to college.  After he marries and starts a family of his own, Justin returns home to reconnect with the family that he lost somewhere along the way.  He is upset to discover that both of his parents have passed away and shocked when he finds his own grave next to theirs.  This discovery prompts a heart wrenching journey to discover his past and why he has blocked out so much of it.

Of the three books I took with me on vacation, The Language of Secrets was the only one that I actually had time to read.  I am so glad that I chose this one to begin with.  Dixon captured my attention immediately and I didn't want to put the book down.  I loved how the story was told from a variety of perspectives and time frames.  The reader more fully understands Justin's story than he ever will because of the way information is revealed.  Alternating between the present and the past, chapters are clearly labeled with the place, time, and characters contained within.  This made the story lines very easy to follow.  If the story had been told from the perspective of only one character, I think it would have felt incomplete because there would be too many missing pieces.

I found many of the characters in the book difficult to like because they are all so deeply flawed.  Often the choices they made were beyond my understanding because their value systems seemed to be so different from my own.  I think this added to the emotional charge of the book though because the choices some of the characters faced seemed so horrible.

It is rare for me to find a book where I notice both the story and the language used to tell it.  Usually if I am caught up in the story, I don't notice the language or if I am noticing the language, then the story isn't holding my attention.  Dianne Dixon manged to keep me interested in both of these aspects in the novel.  The story was compelling and the language used to tell it is beautiful.

I received a copy of The Language of Secrets from Doubleday based on being the Guru of a related item on GetGlue.com.  There was no expectation of a review and the opinion presented here is entirely my experience of reading this novel.


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