Belong To Me – Review

Belong To Me, by Marisa de los Santos is a sequel (of sorts) to her highly acclaimed and reviewed Love Walked In. I finished the latter book only a few weeks ago before I heard about Belong To Me. I quickly placed a hold on the title from my library and two weeks later, I sit here, having finished the last page, completely unsure of how I feel about this book.

Belong to Me Cover Belong To Me picks up where Love Walked In left off. Cornelia and Teo are now married, and move to a quiet suburb where not everyone is quite what they appear to be. There is a healthy cast of characters in this novel, with Piper Truitt (nosy neighbor extraordinaire) and the Tremain family Lake and her some Devoroux. Just as she had done with Love Walked In, she took seemingly detached stories and wove them together through tragedy, compassion and some sort of epiphany and realization. The book is very well written, I love Marisa’s ease and fluidity of her prose.   Her descriptions are detailed, but not overbearing. Her characters are colorful and have their own background stories and don’t just play 2-D figures in the books. This book is a story of families, and how they form in different shapes and sizes.

In Love Walked In, we were introduced to Cornelia Brown, a Cafe manager in Philadelphia and Clare Hobbes; daughter to a distant father and bipolar mother. In Love Walked In, de los Santos alternated the perspective between first person for Cornelia and third person for Clare. In Belong To Me, we still have first person for Clare, but now we have two additional third person perspectives of Piper Truitt and Devoroux Tremain (extremely smart and gifted 13 year old). I’m half wondering if her next book will have four character perspectives, and so forth. At times it was distracting, at times it was frustrating. Although I felt very attached to Cornelia, I have no feelings for her family whatsoever, so the plotline of Cornelia’s brother Toby and his girlfriend seemed forced. I do see Marisa’s point of Toby’s story; that there are multiple ways to be a family, and raise happy children. That love is not the end-all cure for every bump in the road, or always the answer to every question regarding parental responsibility.

My other frustration with the book, and although I do adore de los Santos’ writing, I felt that this book dragged on. Towards the last fourth of the book I found myself skimming because I had at some point stopped caring about the characters. I just wanted them all to come to terms with the truth and stop stalling. I think the book would have worked better without the Piper addition, but then the story would have been eerily similar to Love Walked In.

FINAL GRADE: B

Belong To Me
by Marisa de los Santos
William Morrow, 2008
ISBN 0061240270
388 pages

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One response to “Belong To Me – Review

  1. Pingback: 2009 Recap « The Novel World

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