Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Family Value-Stephen L. Nelson

Family Value
Stephen L. Nelson
Five Star, May 7 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594148736

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Didonatos and the Marshes live in a two family house at 392 Chestnut Street. Each couple has two young kids living with them. The families get along though each adult has issues as they struggle to make it.

Tony DiDonato cannot find a job as a professor of medieval literature so he is a stay at home dad refurbishing old furniture, which is his passion but will not admit it to himself or his wife as that is blue collar. His wife Laurel is a safety engineer at Jackson Products, Inc, who recently learned of illegal dumping of toxic chemicals by her firm; she was adopted and wants to learn who her biological parents are. Jay Marsh is a lawyer who enjoys doing pro-bono cases representing impoverished clients as he is encouraged by his caring adopted mom; he has no desire to learn who his biological mom is and detests his adopted father for deserting them. His wife Carol is a probation officer trying to help kids in trouble, but though she joined Adult Children of Alcoholics, she still has issues with her late mom the drunk that the house she inherited from her is a constant reminder; soon her work and what is in the basement threaten both families.

This intriguing family drama has too much going on so that none of the four adults or for that matter the four kids appear differently from each other, which in turn detracts from the personal and family crisis that the adults face. Still readers will enjoy watching each character struggle with Family Values as they want to do the right thing professionally and personally for their own sake and for that of their family.

Harriet Klausner

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