Saffee does not want the table. By the time she inherits the object of her mother's obsession, the surface is thick with haphazard layers of paint, and heavy with unsettling memories.
After a childhood spent watching her mother slide steadily into insanity, painting and re-painting the ancient table, Saffee has come to fear that seeds of psychosis may lie dormant within her. But as an adult with a family of her own, Saffee must confront her mother's torment if she wants to defend herself against it.
Traversing four generations over the course of a century, The Painted Table is an epic portrait of inherited memory, proclivity, and guilt. It is a sprawling narrative affirmation that a family artifact---like a family member---can bear the marks of one's entire past . . . as well as intimations of one's redemption.
My review: This was a very different story from ones I usually read. It was interesting, but it was frustrating because I felt so bad for Saffee, her sister, and father for the things they went through with her mother. I also felt bad for her mother because she couldn't help the unreasonable things she sometimes did and thought. I can't imagine how hard it would be to grow up in a household with both parents emotionally distant and one erratic besides. There were things hinted at in her mother's childhood that I was hoping we would find out the truth about once and for all, but were left more vague. The curiosity in me really wanted to know all! I could relate to the Norwegian heritage from Minnesota and I liked learning about some of the history of the family, but I wished for more of that. This is definitely a more serious novel that almost read like a memoir. There was some really wise advice given to Saffee about incorporating the good things from her mother and not keeping the bad and I think that's great advice for any child with the legacy of a parent. It's not easy, but being intentional about keeping the good and not holding on to the bad is important for moving on and not repeating our parents' mistakes. There's a really cool dream Saffee has about her mother and heaven that made me cry and I love how that ended the story on a more uplifting note.
I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
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About the author: Suzanne Field, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, has taught English as a Second Language in China, Ukraine, and Hawaii. She has also been a magazine editor and home-school teacher. She and her husband have five children and divide their time between Kansas and Hawaii where she is a tutor and mentor.
Learn more about Suzanne at: https://www.facebook.com/SuzanneFieldThePaintedTable
Suzanne Field is celebrating her novel The Painted Table with a beautiful hand-painted table giveaway!
One winner will receive:
- A beautiful hand-painted table (see it here: http://etsy.me/15L90cD)
- The Painted Table by Suzanne Field