Books and Reading

RED LEAVES – by PAULLINA SIMONS with SPOILERS

RED LEAVES – by PAULLINA SIMONS with SPOILERS

!!!! Spoilers ahead !!!!!

Red LeavesRed Leaves by Paullina Simons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s either a * or a **** depending on if you let yourself read the last 5 pages.

This novel owes a great deal to Wuthering Heights and The Secret History,if only for setting. Maybe Spencer also has more than a namesake nod to film noir detectives.

It’s a hodgepodge that reads very compellingly once you come to realize that Kristina’s stubbornness and stupidity during the car accident are meant to endear her to you and show that something is somehow broken in her. I found it unputdownable once I realized that Kristina and Albert must have a very unusual if not forbidden relationship. I went straight to Flowers in the Attic and assumed they were brother and sister, or at the very least Romeo and Juliet. Apparently many readers thought the ‘incest’ was a twist only revealed at the end. For me the twist was that he was adopted. In fact, even as Spencer was interviewing the mother, I thought she was lying about the death of the twin, and we would find out he hadn’t died after all.

At the last sentence, I found this the most bewildering novel by Simons I had ever read. Perhaps one of the most bewildering ever. At times, it took almost a spoof of a fantastical novel to it’s heart and seemed to reveal that Nathan/Billy/Albert is the devil’s child we must guard to bring into our innocent and wholesome families and homes. Ha! To me the truly evil people here were Kristina’s mother and father who CAST BOTH CHILDREN OFF with no more parental love, when it was clear the two loved each other. OK – the lack of supervision and immature sexual relationship was bad but surely the wrong done here was not by the boy but by his ‘loving family.’

At least the grandmother got it right.

I was devastated that Spencer didn’t come to his senses in the end, and found it a confusing point of view from Simons who normally is such fated lovers romantic.

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