Friday, July 6, 2007

Book Review by Alison Ross

Blood Ties: A Harrowing Tale of Parental Incompetence
by Aison Ross

Blood Ties, by deceased author Jennifer Lash, is the wrenching story of the deadly, reverberating consequences of parents' inability to love their own offspring. Violet, a proud, educated Irish woman, enters into an affectionless matrimony with the simpleton Cecil (who also happens to be a closeted homosexual), and together they produce a son. Reared by a nanny and severely shunned by his parents, Lumsden, the son, grows into a scheming, self-loathing caricature, who himself conceives a son, Spencer, during a loveless liasion with Dolly, who is yet another product of parental incompetence.

Spencer, eventually relegated to the care of his indifferent grandfather and misanthropic grandmother, is no menacing mirror of his father, but looms awkward and tormented nonetheless. By chance, however, he is rescued from 'utter dereliction'(to pilfer an expression from the book). In a love-filled union, he fathers a son who comes to receive all the affection so curiously and cruelly denied the previous two generations of boys. He is the beacon of a brighter future for this traumatized tribe.

Blood Ties is harrowingly beautiful, if a bit uncomfortably precise for today's post-Freudian readership. It is lyrically lucid and infused with an invigorating maternal zeal. Its life-altering potential is perilously high; anyone considering rearing children of their own will find it difficult to ignore its near-supplicating message that you only have one chance to get it right.

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