(From Amazon.com) A wayward wife, an Oedipally obsessed e-mail snoop, a pint-sized Civil War reenactor (oops, make that living historian), and a cheerfully oblivious cuckold comprise the Shaws of Chicago, the decidedly quirky characters of Jane Hamilton's fourth novel, Disobedience. An unlikely family to fall prey to the vagaries of modern life, the Shaws are consumed with clog dancing, early music, and the War Between the States. But they do possess a computer, and when 17-year-old Henry stumbles into his mother's e-mail account and epistolary evidence of her affair with a Ukrainian violinist, he becomes consumed with this glimpse into her life as a woman, not simply a mother.
I loved Hamilton's "A Map of the World" and "The Book of Ruth", so had great expectations for this book. I got to chapter 6, before I started skimming through to the end, just to see what would happen to this family. Just didn't want to finish. As a mom of two teenage boys, I could not relate in the slightest to her portrayal of Henry, the teenage son who discovers his mother's infidelity. In my experience, boys of that age are so self-absorbed, in their sports, in girls, in their social lives, etc., that I cannot conceive of them being so wrapped up in their mom's life/loves. So many observations of his mother such as "she looked so lovely when she was alarmed" (and many, many more) are a foreign concept to most teenage boys regarding their mothers, in my opinion. A concern for the family staying together, for sure, would be understandable, but Henry's observations and thought processes in this book are just not believable to me at all. So, I gave this 3 stars, and sadly did not enjoy it as I have her other books.
New York Times notable book. A 17 year old boy reaches for adulthood and separation from his mother who is having an affair and his oblivious educator-father and sister obsessed with civil war reenactments. Wonderfully written.
never read...back of book says:
When 17 yr. old Henry Shaw discovers that allis not as it seems iwth his ordinary mid-western American family-that, in fact, his mother is having a passionate affair-he is unable to tell anyone. Neither his amiable father, a history teacher, nor his slightly offbeat younger sister, a spirited girl obsessed with Civil War reenactments, has any idea that their world is about to change.