Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

by:  Siobhan Adcock
published by:  Dutton Adult
publish date:  September 4, 2014

The Barter is a ghost story and a love story, a riveting emotional tale that also explores motherhood and work and feminism. Set in Texas, in present day, and at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel follows two young mothers at the turning point of their lives.

Bridget has given up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter, joining a cadre of stay-at-home mothers seeking fulfillment in a quiet suburb. But for Bridget, some crucial part of the exchange is absent: Something she loves and needs. And now a terrifying presence has entered her home; only nobody but Bridget can feel it.

On a farm in 1902, a young city bride takes a farmer husband. The marriage bed will become both crucible and anvil as Rebecca first allows, then negates, the powerful erotic connection between them. She turns her back on John to give all her love to their child. Much will occur in this cold house, none of it good.

The Barter was kind of strange story.  Firstly, I didn't really understand how "The Barter" really figured in to the story.  Maybe I was missing something about that.  I think that whole part of the story could have been left out and it would have been totally fine.  Secondly, it seemed like it was less of a ghost story and more of a work on feminism than anything else.  That was fine, it was actually pretty interesting, but I think it would have been more interesting to angle it that way than trying to work the barter issue.

Initially I thought I was going to like the Rebecca side of the story better because I was irritated with the kind of lifestyle that Bridget was leading.  However, in the end, I kinda ended up siding with Bridget because I felt bad for her.  She seemed trapped in her stay at home mom life and couldn't find away out without admitting defeat.  

I would recommend this book to mothers in particular because I think it has some important messages in it about how we can't do it all.  It's ok to pick work over staying at home, it doesn't make you a failure as a mother.  While, The Barter might not have been one of my favorites, I did find it interesting and it made me think and that's always a good thing.

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