Maddie tells the story of family's move from Detroit to upstate New York...of her mother's unnamed illness and her father's stifled musical talents...of the wall of silence her parents have put between them and the demons they seem to be fleeing but can't escape. Through curiosity and stealth, Maddie fits together snippets from her mother's private journal, exposing a shrouded past of dark secrets.
If you are in the mood for introspection--this is the book for you. Janice Deaner is a master of arousing your curiosity. In both "Where Blue Begins" and "The Body Spoken" the narrator tells you bits and pieces as the story unfolds. In each you have no idea where the story is headed.It is only by continuing your reading quest that your curiosity becomes sated. She makes you wonder why you read her books because you learn about your need for suspense, your desire to know the characters, as if some part of your very own Jungian shadow will be revealed. And just as you are curious to know the outcome of the mystery that the protagonist Maggie discovers, you will wonder how you will have been changed by the very reading of Janice's work.
From Publishers Weekly
Deaner's debut novel is an absorbing and often compelling story of a young girl's obsession with her troubled, secretive mother. Moving from Detroit to a village in upstate New York in 1967, 10-year-old Maddie's fragile family is on the verge of collapse. Her father Leo's new job in the music department of a small college reawakens his passion for jazz, sending her mother, Lana, a semi-invalid who spends her days writing in a closely guarded journal, into a physical and emotional tailspin. As Maddie tries to uncover the source of her mother's odd behavior, she begins to piece together the story of Lana's life with Leon 10 years earlier in New York City--a shadowy world of whorehouses, Harlem jazz clubs, racism and violence. The guilt-ridden Maddie's sleuthing ultimately teaches her some hard lessons about the consequences of keeping secrets--and of divulging them. As an initiation story, the book is not entirely satisfying: instead of helping her reach maturity, Maddie's experiences seem to make her more exhausted, frightened and nervous than ever. However, Deaner does relate an engrossing mystery in graceful prose; her narrative possesses a cinematic momentum--the author is a graduate student in film studies--that relies heaviy upon flashbacks (conveniently obtained from Lana's diaries and several canisters of old film) to solve the puzzle.