Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Blog tour stop for The House of Six Doors by Patricia Selbert - hosted by Booksparks PR - with bonus review.
About the book:
Mama takes thirteen-year-old Serena and her sister to the US in search of fortune, leaving behind their multicultural family, stability, and the colors of the Caribbean. After driving from Miami to Hollywood, their money and luck run out and a 1963 Ford Galaxie becomes their first American home. Guided by the memory of her native Curacao and the words of her wise grandmother, Serena confronts unimagined challenges and grows up quickly. What gifts will this new country bring, and at what price?
About the author:
Patricia Selbert grew up on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. Educated in three countries and four languages, she immigrated to California at age 13, inspiring her first novel, "The House of Six Doors". She represented the Netherlands Antilles in equestrian events at the World Championships and Pan American Games. She currently lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband, two sons and three dogs, and blogs about lifestyle, parenting, travels and the delicious recipes she discovers at www.journalbytheseas.com
For starters, let me say this isn't a Christian novel. I found the mother and grandmother's superstitions quite intriguing, if not a bit disconcerting at times. The House of Six Doors is a coming of age story is truly hard to put down. I just wanted to keep reading until I finished the book. I liked the part early on where they traveled through Tombstone, Arizona in 1972 looking for ghosts because it was labeled a ghost town at the time. I found that funny - I live near Tombstone, so that was a plus for me.
I was intrigued by how they survived at first and how they sacrificed to help each other, sometimes to their detriment. The mother's manipulation and her guilt inducing behavior is not uncommon in families. It was intense at times and the way the author showed the negative impact on the daughters was powerful. The story really picked up for me and grabbed my heart when Serena met Sandu. Their story was beautiful and heartbreaking. I loved the occasional flashbacks where Serena remembered things from the past (before she went to live in California) that made up who she was. I found Serena to be a strong and wise girl in then end even though she started out fearful and insecure as a young teenager. Her struggles to fit in and make friends in a country where she didn't read and write English was well done. I loved the illustration of her life and how it matched the strangler-fig tree. Her older sister gave her perspective when she needed it most and her Oma provided her with the encouragement she needed to mature over time. Everyone needs an Oma in their lives who makes sense of the world and loves you regardless.
I found the ending bittersweet and yet empowering. Serena did find her place in the world and it was rewarding to see her grow once she decided to make something of her life. She did the right thing in many situations despite the obstacles she came up against. I disagreed with how she dealt with several things early on, but the author did a wonderful job of showing her intense pain and fear. She was only fifteen and felt desperate and she grieved with Sandu because it was not something that could be easily healed or taken back. I don't agree with the religious beliefs of the people in the book - like the souls and spirits reentering people and reincarnating, etc., but I still found this novel intriguing. I loved reading about their culture and how they saw the world.
Bottom line... I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to people who aren't squeamish about reading stories that involve superstitious beliefs -- knowing that is not a Christian book. Some stuff was sadly funny like the get rich quick schemes that existed back in the 1970s. I remember some of them and since I grew up in the 70s and 80s I found some of the descriptions nostalgia-inducing. There are a lot of things that can be learned from this story, and for that reason I enjoyed it. This novel made me think about life, and I cared about the characters. That always makes for a powerful read, in my opinion. Your emotions will get involved while reading this story. The book was very well written, too, and makes you think about all of the things in your life and in the past that make up who you are today.
The house of Six Doors was published by Publishing by the Seas and was released in February 2011. The book was provided to me for review by Booksparks PR. The opinion expressed above is entirely my own. I was not compensated in any way for my review.