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My Sister, My Love
This is a shameful tale of a murder and dysfunctional family. This very good novel about a self-involved insufferable family is based on an infamous 1996 murder case. There is a disinterested father, a social climbing mother, a young daughter named Bliss who is a talented ice skater and a surly ignored troubled son named Skyler. When Bliss is murdered, everyone has barely concealed derision for Skyler.

This 2009 novel has a mention of a Trump hotel and Hillary bashing by one character. Bliss had a learning disability and her injuries were covered up. Her murder leads to leprous celebrity. After her murder, Bliss is a constant if unmentioned presence in her brother’s life as their parents move on. Skyler’s father moves on to pastures new and his mother to an over elaborate media career. Skyler is burdensome and unwanted.

This is an outrageous, observant and slyly vigilant tale. Skyler likes to impart knowledge of his family, the murder and the events before and after the murder to the reader. He performs emotional triage on himself and shows how his stage mother used Bliss’ career to gain praise, admiration and reassurance for herself. He reveals how his father had no integrity or competence and the stark conclusion is the family had a poisonous nature; they viewed each other with hostility and suspicion and had no brooding tenderness.

There are awful secrets concealed, irresponsibility, wretched circumstance and no real surprise as to who was unexpectedly responsible for Bliss’ murder in the non eye-watering denouement. This was fascinating as improprieties are revealed, unbridled misery is unpicked, the mother retreats into repressive Puritanism and may or may not believe her own hokum

Skyler is unsympathetic and has ludicrously tragic, indecorously, palpable torment. His preposterously insincere father is a disingenuous egomaniac full of chilling insensitivity and moral laxity. The mother has wild intent to fix something. And Skyler is a stupid violent addict who picks fights with anyone unfortunate enough to look in his direction. Proustian flashbacks slowly reveal the terrible event behind his pained existence and the maniacal desperation to escape his damaging reality.

The notoriously unpleasant Skyler has a really negative reputation and does psychological introspection. This is a discomfortingly edgy tale of exploitation, neglect, abuse, lies and grinding everyday incremental disasters that are as destructive as they are dramatic. This is a tale of a father who takes sporadic interest in his doomed children, a poisonous atmosphere and self inflicted pseudo crisis. Skyler is consumed with loathing and is deeply unpalatable as he is ground down. Bliss was coerced into skating by her odious mother and her air of insufferable sanctimony. This is a work of lasting significance that is excitingly dark and shows moral rot and simmering tensions.

Best Lines:
“Such requests merely inflamed police officers, like protestations of innocence.”

“Our grief is not yours.”

“Speech as aggression.”

“Shrieking like a deranged bat.”

“It has certainly exhausted the patience of adults in your vicinity.”

“Strangers lived there and were happy.”

“TV-cartoon cretins.”

“Shut up, mummy!”

“Who quiver with emotion no one wants to share.”

“Has attracted, fatally, the wrong kind of husband.”

“Loving someone who didn’t want her love.”

“Why on earth are you watching these awful people,”

“The wealthy disgraced.”

“Of whom he had heard numerous troubling things,”

“I am registering my extreme disappointment that you should let me down another time, son.”

“Pride is beyond him.”

“You will not shame the Rampikes, son. No more than you already have.”

Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray
Recall the ‘Jedi Apprentice’ and ‘The Legacy Of The Force’ books? No? Me neither. This is a much more realistic post ‘Return Of The Jedi’ world unlike the old EU novels. Set 6 years or so before ‘The Force Awakens’, there is foreshadowing. It shows how Leia went from Princess to General via the destruction of her political career due to the public revelation of her paternity. There is unconscionable conduct by those who are secretly facilitating the rise of the First Order. Leia’s son Ben is absent and she does not appear to have a maternal bone in her body.

She seems to have no bond with him, interest in him and in fact seems wary of him. Is it due to his Force powers? Instead Leia is driven to the point of despair by her own issues. This was very good, even if one feels sympathy fatigue for Leia. This shows the beginning of the new Resistance. How did Ben become Kylo Ren? I would like to read more books that set the agenda for the First Order and Kylo Ren.

Best Lines:
“Not every ideological conflict leads to a complete governmental breakdown.”

“Compromise was for the weak.”



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