Wednesday, June 07, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: Teeth in a Pickle Jar by H.B. Milligan

Megan hasn't had an easy life. Her first sexual encounter leads to a delightful daughter--and a loveless marriage that comes complete with Annabelle, a mother-in-law who gives new meaning to the idea of hauteur and arrogance. After a year of getting by and enduring, Megan has had enough and she leaves Paris, and the husband, for New York City, and her own overbearing mother.

For years Megan devoted herself to providing a good home for her daughter Hayley, trying to provide a balance for the emotionally cold world of Hayley's father and the domineering presence of Mamma. Suddenly Brent, a much younger man, enters the picture, throwing Megan's world into turmoil. Will Megan throw away a chance at true happiness or will she take the leap, regardless of what her Mamma has to say?

H.B. Milligan has crafted a novel of discovery out of some fairly stereotypical plot lines: WASP-ish upper crust society mirrored against the ethnicity of recent immigrants; an overbearing mother of ethnic origin; young single mothers whose lives are relived by their daughters; and finally a middle-aged woman robbing the cradle.
Rather than a formulaic romance novel, Teeth in a Pickle Jar is about searching, discovering anew the shadow our past can cast on our present. Wrapped in a story of a May/December romance, Milligan has constructed a morality play that causes the reader to pause and reflect.

Is it truly better to cling to the hurts we know than to gamble on potential happiness? If Brent is what waits at the end of the journey, then I for one vote for happiness!

Throwing all these disparate plots together with a crazy title like Teeth in a Pickle Jar shouldn't work, but Milligan's pen delights, creating an entrancing tale of self-discovery, friendship and romance.

See the review at Armchair Interviews - Teeth in a Pickle Jar.

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