Title : Is This Tomorrow
Author: Caroline Leavitt
Narrator: Xe Sands
Publisher: HighBridge Company
Length: 11.5 hours
Year of Publication: 5-7-13
There is something about listening to someone read you a story. I love it. Although not using the active visual processing there is a comfort to processing a story through our hearing. Perhaps it harkens back to the days before writing existed and our history was passed from mouth to mouth. I wonder how many stories may have died out because someone wasn’t really captivated by the story or the narrator. I admit to finding myself feeling bored in sections of this story.
As the single narrator, Sands had the daunting task of creating both adult and adolescent voices. She changed up her tone to signify changes in characters. She was just not really adept at distinguishing her female characters from other females and the same for her male characters. All the women started to sound the same and same for the male characters. Her adolescent boy voice grated on my nerves.
This sounded like such an interesting story. It’s 1956, and working-mother Ava Lark and her son, Lewis, have rented a house in a less-than-welcoming Boston suburb. There, Lewis finds he is only able to befriend the other fatherless kids on the block, Jimmy and Rose. But when Jimmy goes missing, neighborhood paranoia ramps to new heights, further ostracizing Ava and Lewis. Leavitt creates a convincing portrait of what it is like to be a divorced mother in this period of history. That she is Jewish as well adds a whole other layer. And for me, this is the problem. She created such an intriguing character in Ava. She was a woman ahead of her time and I found her fascinating. I found her son Lewis much less so; he was bland and sometimes annoying. As for the mystery of Jimmy’s disappearance, the author dealt with the fear and paranoia of it very well. But I found the reverberation in Lewis’s and Ava’s life written superficially. I understood intellectually that this event impacted them tremendously but the author never made me feel it. As for the denouement – it felt forced.
With this in mind, I felt the narrator did do what she could with the material she had. Ava Lark was such an interesting character – when she was on stage I enjoyed this audio version very much. I found myself wishing at the end that Leavitt had thought to write purely from Ava’s point of view what it was like to be a divorced Jewish single mother in the 1950’s. I would have enjoyed that story much more.
Enjoy this book for the wonderful characterization of Ava but don’t expect much from the mystery.
This audio was provided by the publisher. This in no way impacted the outcome of this review.