Golden State by Stephanie Kegan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
3.75 stars. If you read the description, you know what the book is about. What Kegan captures perfectly is the protagonist's, Natalie's, relationships and the way they are impacted. Natalie's roots are from the Golden State. Her ancestors were pioneers that settled even after the Gold Rush ended. Her father was a powerful poitition that fought for liberal notions. They were not hippies, simply politically active with a picture perfect facade. Bobby, the oldest, was always a genius, attending Princeton at the age of 15. He took care of Natalie, 6 years younger. Sara was the middle child, cheerleader, openly rebellious. They all went different directions in adulthood.
Plagued by a politically minded bomber, Natalie sees similarities in tirades from her brother, living in the wilderness. Natalie shares her suspicions and the world has she knows it falls apart. Some side stories of interest is that the FBI and the world of law has no oversight. Also, law is motivated by politics. This is true. Arrested means the same as guilty even though our laws state innocent until proven guilty. I liked that part of the book, too. I think it is an important facet to publicize. The story starts with Natalie as a suburban mother and wife, private school educator with little contact with her siblings to her suspicions to the end of the legal proceedings. All very well done. But the main story is about how all of this impacts her relationships.
How does Natalie reconcile her suspicions that the gentle brother she loved might be the Cal Bomber? How does she face her widowed mother knowing that she made the original allegations? How will her older sister react? How does she live her private life when the allegations become public? How does it impact her marriage, her children and their decisions? How does she redefine her normal?
Like any woman or man for that matter, when something big happens in our lives (although few will have an infamous sibling), we must re prioritize, redefine, and refine who we are. That is really what this book is about.