About the Book:
Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as a high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.
Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.
Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, MOTHER OF PEARL brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.
Mother of Pearl is an engaging read about a woman who used a family tragedy to prevent that tragedy from happening to some other families. It has well-drawn characters and Kellie Coats Gilbert is good at getting readers (or at least me) to like and dislike certain characters. I especially liked the way she handled Seve and Jackie. They seem so perfect, so together, you just know they are too good to be true--and in the end it turns out they are, but not in the way I was expecting. In short, in general, I enjoyed the book.
However, if this book was a play, the final Act, the one containing the climax, involves a court case. To put it simply, I think Gilbert went beyond creative license and just plain got it wrong. To being with, at first, she refers to the parties being sued as the plaintiff, and does so several times. Later she referrs to the same parties as defendants (which is what they are). She has a civil suit going to trial six weeks after it was filed (generally speaking the case is moving at lightening speed if the Answer, which is the first substantive pleading by the defendant, is filed six weeks after a case is filed.) Civil cases then go through a period of discovery, where each party learns about the other's case. Simply put, the civil litigation process is designed to make cases settle, not go to trial. The Perry Mason moment where the smoking gun is pulled out in the courtroom to the surprise of all concerned just doesn't happen in civl cases. Witnesses must be disclosed before trial and both sides have the opportunity to examine the witnesses under oath before trial. The case involved allegations of criminal conduct and the defendant got on the stand and testified about them. No criminal attorney would let his client testify under those circumstances. Perhaps those who are not familiar with the legal system would not have caught the plaintiff/defendant error, and would not know that civil trials are well-rehersed plays rather than trials by ambush but as a paralegal, these errors lowered my opinion of the book. Grade: B-
I received a complimentary review copy of this book.