I love it when I stumble upon an author that I love. It’s even more fun when we end up chatting on Facebook, which is a wonderful thing about social media. What a wonderful thing it is to be able to tell your favorite authors how much you enjoy their books.
Also thanks to social media, I have had the pleasure of receiving books before they were released. I love being able to read a book before most others will. It’s almost like a know a secret before every one else.
A fan of Caroline Leavitt, after reading Is This Tomorrow, Pictures of You, and Girls In Trouble, I knew when I first heard about her newest book, I had to read it. Cruel Beautiful World was everything I expected and more and I loved every page of it.
It is not a happy story. It is filled with secrecy and lies and turmoil during a time when many young girls are getting to know themselves and their place in the world. Set in the time of the Vietnam War and the infamous Manson murders, it is rich with nostalgia for a long ago era when things were simpler yet more difficult all at the same time.
You will want to protect Lucy, just 16 years old, as she runs away with an older man, one of her teachers. She envisions a life of love for just the two of them, but it ends up being so much more than that. Her life is in danger as she is kept hidden away from much of the world and there are secrets all around her. Her older sister has to deal with her sister leaving and it affects her life as she grows up without her as well as that of their distant relative Iris, who is older, cares for them.
What I love most about Caroline Leavitt’s books is the raw emotion she writes with. This book was the result of several real life events from her childhood and on. There is a wonderful interview on NPR that you can read here and learn how this book, her greatest of all, came to be.
Cruel Beautiful World was a hard one to put down and I wanted so much for Lucy, Charlotte, and Iris. It was very easy to become emotionally attached to all of them. And that is one of the reasons I love Caroline Leavitt.
I highly recommend this book. With the holiday weekend coming up, it’s the perfect time to sit and read it. You won’t want to put it down either.