Sigrid's Reviews

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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Originally from New Jersey, I'm the owner of Book Magic, a company that provides manuscript evaluations and copyediting. I'm also the author of three books. Contact me at sigridmac13 at hotmail dot com or visit http://www.bookmagic.ca/

Monday, April 10, 2006

Carleton University's newspaper, the Charlatan, reviews D'Amour Road

Lisa Xing, a reporter for Carleton University's newspaper, the Charlatan, wrote this wonderful review of D'Amour Road.

"Sigrid Macdonald makes an astonishing entrance with her sophomore publication, D'amour Road. I've recently found it quite difficult to get through all of my existential philosophy reads and explanations into relativity, so it was refreshing, to say the least, when I picked up the book and clichédly couldn't put it down.

Macdonald does an amazing job of setting the background for the action, especially in portraying Tara, a 40 year-old woman going through a mid-life crisis. With no sexual desire for her husband, she channels her frustration to the virile young man working at the local Loeb, Alain.

She feels disconnected from her teenage son and has some serious reservations on her "older woman/motherly" image. Her life is thrown into turmoil when her best friend, Lisa, disappears suddenly.

Tara's internal monologue and first person narration is entirely believable and realistic. Her bleak worries on her age and desire for Alain is hilarious, infused with sarcastic and almost cynical stream of consciousness that helps the reader identify with her. This makes her the perfect 21st century crisis-wreaked heroine.

The story brings us back to the age-old concept of conflict - man vs. nature, man vs. man and man vs. himself. Well, in this case, woman.

With D'amour Road, Macdonald covers all these bases extensively as Tara falls apart following Lisa's disappearance, fighting waning feelings of self-worth, contempt for others and fear of losing someone she loves.

Throughout the ordeal and daily searches for Lisa, Tara fights to stay together, but her situation at home with Mark, her husband of 15 years doesn't help. Tara describes him in an unattractive, contemptuous way.

In turn, she gets increasingly obsessive with Alain that she makes a point to apply makeup and choose attractive outfits when grocery-shopping.Alain joins the search for Lisa. When this happens, I didn't know whether to think that something between them would happen or not.

Although Tara is emotionally unstable throughout the novel, her narration is oddly reliable and gives a solid foundation for the rest of the plot. I was surprised to see what a compelling character she was and after finishing, I actually felt disappointed to know that she was a fictional character.

After reading this book, centered on Lisa's mysterious disappearance and backed up by some sub-plots, I immediately though of the recent Jennifer Teague case. The Barrhaven teenager was leaving work on Jan. 8 when she disappeared. Another similar case also comes to mind - Ardeth Wood, an Ottawa woman who was murdered two years ago. There seem to be eerie similarities in the cases, and the Wood case is even mentioned in the novel.

Macdonald addresses these issues sensitively but also candidly, raising public awareness while creating fiction that is accessible and entertaining."