Friday, April 22, 2011

CBRIII: Book #21: The Raising by Laura Kasischke

Believe it or not, I was introduced to this book by a women's magazine. Family Circle or Woman's Day, actually. Generally they recommend books that I can't even begin to have an interest in, but this time I was intrigued. This is an extremely well-written book.

How do I begin? Craig Clements-Rabbitt is returning to college for his sophomore year. He's been home all summer after a car accident that killed his girlfriend Nicole Werner and left him a pariah. Perry Edwards welcomes Craig to their new apartment, roommates again, as they were freshmen year in Godwin Honors Hall. Perry had known Nicole all through school, having grown up with her in Bad Axe. He was the reason that Craig and Nicole had met.

We are also introduced to Shelly Lockes, who works on campus with the music school. She's got a work-study student this year, Josie Reilly. Josie is a horrible worker that was a roommate and sorority sister of Nicole Werner in their freshmen year. Shelly thinks that she'll have to fire the attractive girl for her incompetence. Shelly was also the first person on the scene of Craig and Nicole's accident. The person that called 911.

Mira Polson is a professor in Godwin Honors Hall where she teaches about death and the various rituals and superstitions that we assign to help ourselves grieve. She is approached by Perry Edwards one day because he wishes to take her seminar intended for freshmen only. Perry is troubled by Nicole's death and the effect it has had on Craig and other people on campus. Intrigued by the possibilities for her being published and gaining tenure, Mira agrees to allow Perry into the seminar.

From here, Kasischke weaves the stories of all of these different people into one haunting tale of what happens when we die and how people deal with their grief. I was first confused as to why all of these seemingly insignificant characters were being given attention. Slowly, the pieces begin to come together as much as the story we think we're reading begins to unravel. Kasischke had created something that you will think about and analyze for days after you finish the last page.

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