While I Was Gone Author:Sue Miller Despite having a loving husband, three vivacious daughters, a beautiful home in rural Massachusetts, and satisfaction in her work, Jo Becker's mind is invaded by a persistent restlessness. Then, an old roommate reappears to bring back Jo's memories of her early 20s. Her obsession with that period of her life and with the crime that concl... more »uded it eventually estrange Jo from everything she holds dear, causing her to tell lie after lie as she is pulled closer to this man from her past--and to a horrible secret.
Oprah's Book Club selection.
"Gripping, close-to-the-bone fiction... Sue Miller is one of American fiction's most knowing chroniclers of domestic life... While I Was Gone urges us to consider, very carefully, what's best told and what's best kept private. As Jo is whisked along her journey of self-revelation, Miller elevates her story into a parable of '60s survivors shocked to find themselves, in what was expected to be stable middle age, once again on the brink of the abyss...While I Was Gone is the most accomplished novel in a career that began promisingly with The Good Mother"
- New York Newsday
"FASCINATING . . . A NEW NOVEL OF GREAT INTEGRITY AND POWER . . .« less
This is a story of how one womans past comes back to haunt her, when a man she knew 25 years ago, moves into the small New England town, where Jo is a veterinarian and happily married. Jo finds her "old friend," Eli, upsetting and at the same time tantalizing. Can she confront her past yet stay true to her marriage?
I loved the authors penchants for detail and good dialogue. It helped to make the story "real." This novel is a "page-turner," with many surprises!
Very well written, but I did find it difficult to relate to the main character. Although I cannot personally relate to the inner struggles Jo experienced, I think that Sue Miller did an excellent job of creating a flawed heroine...a survivor of the "late 1960's, early 1970's" era of American culture. I couldn't put this book down once I got into it.
Sue Miller allows the reader to reflect on their own life at the same time as the main character, Jo. Or was that just me? I read the book in a smooth fashion and while my brain computed Miller's story, it also computed my own story. My own memories, my own past, my own connections from the past to the 'now.' The character's thoughts were potent, raw and brutally honest. I loved the pace, the anticipation, the suspense that Miller eloquently builds page to page. A sparkling book with so many 'real life' moments.
From the back cover, "Fascinating . . . A New Novel of Great Integrity and Power . . . Despite having a loving husband, three vivacious daughters, a beautiful home in rural Massachusetts, and satisfaction in her work, Jo Becker's mind is invaded by a persistent restlessness. Then, an old roommate reappears to bring back Jo's memories of her early 20s . . . . Her obsession with that period of her life and with the crime that concluded it eventually estrange Jo from everything she holds dear, causing her to tell lie after lie as she is pulled closer to this man from her past...and to a horrible secret." Well, yes, that does describe it, but I think it deserved a little more mention of the fact that the book really connects her present life with her past in a way that the past is very involved in her life now. It is an easy ready, found myself thinking about the characters when I wasn't reading the book ... that's my judgment of a pretty good book. I liked it.
Give this book a chance. I couldn't really get into it until about page 60 and then for most of the time it is a very engaging read. It is possible in any little section you find boring to skim or practically skip until you see something you are more interested in and not lose cohesion in the story.