Reviewing: Is This Tomorrow?
Author: Caroline Leavitt
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)
Published: May 7, 2013
Format: Kindle edition, 384pages
In 1956, Ava Lark rents a house with her twelve-year-old son, Lewis, in a desirable Boston suburb. Ava is beautiful, divorced, Jewish, and a working mom. She finds her neighbors less than welcoming. Lewis yearns for his absent father, befriending the only other fatherless kids: Jimmy and Rose. One afternoon, Jimmy goes missing. The neighborhood—in the throes of Cold War paranoia—seizes the opportunity to further ostracize Ava and her son.
Years later, when Lewis and Rose reunite to untangle the final pieces of the tragic puzzle, they must decide: Should you tell the truth even if it hurts those you love, or should some secrets remain buried?
(Synopsis and image via Goodreads)
The opening pages of Is This Tomorrow? took me back to my childhood neighborhood, my chums on my street, the adults who cared about us, the 1950s in general. Images of clothing, household furnishings, and transportation are described in detail and with clarity.
Caroline Leavitt is an author whose writing I have previously enjoyed, and this was no exception.
Ava, a Jewish divorcee, doesn’t fit into the neighborhood’s demographics. Raising a son on her own doesn’t make life any easier. Yet the children in the neighborhood find Ava’s home a welcome spot to visit. Harmless and loving, Ava treats them all the same.
The tragedy in the story is the reason behind some of the children’s visits to Ava’s–something is lacking at home. Leavitt, I believe, points out clearly a turning in our society in the 1950s and 1960s to the busyness of the parental component and a loss for our children leaving them seeking a place of acceptance and comfort. And so begins the story of Jimmy, a boy who goes missing on this quiet neighborhood street.
A variety of suspicions arise, similar to those we hear on the news today, and Ava finds herself caught up in the middle of the whirling minds of her neighbors. Jimmy was best friends with Ava’s son, Lewis, and both are deeply affected by Jimmy’s disappearance. Jimmy’s sister, Rose, forms an alliance with Lewis and they promise each other they will find Jimmy.
What follows is a page-turning, well written story of mystery, intrigue, and modern-day profiling. Leavitt never lets her readers down, and she once again amazes with the story’s ending.
Fans of Leavitt will likely have read Is This Tomorrow? or will pick it up out of habit. Those who haven’t read Leavitt before should make this one of their first Leavitt reads. Mystery lovers, aficionados of the 1950s and 1960s, and those who love good stories well told will enjoy Is This Tomorrow?
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Is This Tomorrow? from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are solely mine.