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The Norwegian table, a century-old heirloom ingrained with family memory, has become a totem of a life Saffee would rather forget—a childhood disrupted by her mother’s mental illness.

“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. She must confront her mother’s torment if she wants to defend herself against it.”

I saw this and it sounded pretty awful. I was expecting it to be this cheesy, over-dramatic, and over the top modern version of One Hundred Years of Solitude (which I pretty much hated). I don’t know why I picked this up to be honest.

The book follows the story of four generations of women. The first woman was the woman who gave birth to the main character, Saffee’s mother. She was in the story as the woman who was institutionalized after her husband made her give away her daughter because he couldn’t afford another girl. Saffee’s mother (can’t remember her name) was terrified of ever being like her mother, but started to slowly lose her mental stability. She completely started to melt down at the time she inherited the table.

Saffee watched as her mother went downhill. That was fascinating. It was interesting to be in a spectator seat to the mental illness by someone who clearly saw it from almost the beginning. It felt like Saffee was was overly observant for a child. She noticed things like her father and mother being tense through letters. While I enjoyed the way the story at times, it didn’t always do justice to the plot (mostly when Saffee was a child).

The years that Saffee was in college were pretty boring. The guy she ended up marrying is super boring. What is the appeal in that guy? He wasn’t a bad guy, but he didn’t really have anything that made him special. I am pretty sure that the Good Christian Man is hard to write with any excitement. The Good Christian Woman is much more varied. I did however like that Saffee was awkward and clearly messed up about her childhood. I did not like that praying and finding a good husband was the answer.

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3 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book, if I can remember it.

You can buy this book here.

~Isaiah

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