Lisa says… Read This! (March 2009)
By Lisa Hamilton
Over the next few months, Lisa Hamilton, of The Chapter 9 Bookclub, will review a few of the books her club is reading. Established in 1994, this Myrtle Beach based club still has four charter members; Lisa, Lynn Venuto, Christi Sloan and Nancy Moore. Other longtime members are Penny Rosner, Sara Sabota, Michelle Capps, Sally Ann Kaiser, Karen Markley, Carolyn Jordan, and Laurie Stewart.
by Jennifer Haigh
Jennifer Haigh’s third novel, The Condition, delves into the lives of a prominent New England family that begins to unravel the summer of 1976. Frank McKotch, a distinguished scientist, his society wife Paulette and their three children travel to Cape Cod for what turns out to be their final summer vacation together. It is here that Dr. McKotch notices how his daughter, Gwen, is significantly smaller and underdeveloped in comparison to her friends and cousins. Gwen is later diagnosed with Turner’s Syndrome, a chromosome deficiency that will forever trap her in the body of a child.
As Haigh brings us into the present, Gwen is talented and successful but emotionally aloof and alone. Her oldest brother, Billy, has followed in his father’s professional footsteps while maintaining a secret and separate life from his family. Scott, the youngest of the three children and the family black sheep, struggles through a regrettable marriage and an unsteady future. The members of this family are authentic and honest; the reader is immediately swept up in their conflicts and emotions. When in her thirties, Gwen falls in love for the first time, and the lives of those around her are submerged into chaos. A family of guilt-ridden men and an over protective mother take matters into their own hands and show us glimpses of what our inner emotions and actions could produce.
The Condition is a thoroughly enjoyable book, poignant and compelling. Haigh not only gives the reader the deep insights into her characters’ hearts and minds; she gives us insight into the human “Condition” in all of us.
About this writer
- A native South Carolinian, Lisa Hamilton is the director of the First Presbyterian Church Preschool and Kindergarten. Of course she loves reading, but also finds time for cooking and walking her dog, Hurley.