Belong To Me
Marisa de los Santos
Harper, Mar 31 2009, $14.99
After recognizing that LOVE WALKED IN to their lives, Cornelia Brown and oncologist Dr. Teo Sandoval married. Following a miscarriage and the 9/11 tragedy, the couple leave Manhattan for the suburbs of Philadelphia.
The urban Cornelia finds adjusting to the burbs quite difficult as the problems of the natives seem insignificant after 9/11. Cornelia cannot stand her disparaging neighbor Piper, unhappy wife to Kyle and mother of two, who is the vicious self-proclaimed leader of what is acceptable behavior. On the hand she seems to get on with single mom Lake whose son Dev believes they left California to be near his dad, an absentee father who vanished thirteen years ago. However she reconsiders her initial impressions and stereotyping the two women. Piper voluntarily becomes the caretaker for cancer victim Elizabeth and subsequently when her “patient” dies keeps providing support to the grieving family even as Kyle walks out on her. The brilliant young teen Dev uncovers the truth about his father.
Though the ending will not shock anyone, the complicated roads travel by the various support staff and Cornelia is deep with detours potholes and ruts making for a profound drama. Cornelia like readers will reassess her classifications of Piper and Lake; she sees the former proactively nurturing a neighbor and her family irregardless of the gossip, and the latter concealing truths from her son. Fans of contemporary family dramas will enjoy the big city immigrant struggling to adapt to life in a foreign land, the suburbs.