David and Eleanor foil each other over this mother-issue: David desperately searches for a biological mother whom he only learns of at age 22; Eleanor shuns her mother and would shun the memory of the continuous physical and emotional abuse she inflicted if only she could. Mr. McGregor maintains a clean and thoughtful, a simple and effective prose throughout. He constantly poses other possibilities – alternate events – when recounting an important juncture in someone’s life, emphasizing life’s sometimes cruel chances.
This author has impressive skills drawing realistic characters, certainly, but his skills hardly stop there. He has given this fine book a structure in which our two protagonists each struggle in their own private fight, but somehow manage to do it in tandem. They do battle on opposite sides of the deepest of familial issues, but have enough capacity for each other to somehow make the journey worthwhile. And this is what I find I’m taking away: the universal nature of every person’s internal struggle, which is put aside long enough to make a beautiful life-affirming relationship work, and make life worth living for the beloved partner. An excellent, thought-provoking, if a little somber, read.