Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Catherine Anderson - Annie's Song

Annie Trimble lives in a solitary world that no one enters or understands. As delicate and beautiful as the tender blossoms of the Oregon spring, she is shunned by a town that misinterprets her affliction. But cruelty cannot destroy the love Annie holds in her heart.
Alex Montgomery is horrified to learn his wild younger brother forced himself on a helpless "idiot girl." Tormented by guilt, Alex agrees to marry her and raise the baby she carries as his own. 
But he never dreams he will grow to cherish his lovely, mute, and misjudged Annie; her childlike innocence, her womanly charms and the wondrous way she views her world. He becomes determined to break through the wall of silence surrounding her; to heal... and to be healed by Annie's sweet song of love.

Comment: I've had this book to read for years. I'm slowly trying to go through the books that have been the longest in the pile along with things that catch my eye now but it's a morose battle, let me tell you...

This is the story of Annie Trimble, the town's idiot, or so people say, and how she learns that all she needed was someone to pay attention and help her.
One day Annie is attacked and raped and ends up pregnant. Her parents don't always seem perfect but they do get concerned and they try to do something, even if it means to let Annie have her baby and then giving him up.
Eventually, Alex, the brother of the man who raped Annie offers to marry Annie so he could keep his nephew, this after sending his brother away to fend for himself after all the despicable things he did.
At first, Alex thought Annie was indeed slower than most and he only wanted her near so he could help her and the baby but after knowing her better, he realizes how Annie has been misdiagnosed by everyone and his feelings start to change...

This ended up being a good story, one I felt interested in reading but it wasn't as perfect as some readers seem to think. I wonder if my vision of things hasn't been colored by my impression of other books by the author.
It almost seems as if her voice here has a tone and her voice in more recent books has another. I understand why, religion has played an important role in the author's recent years and that shows in her work. In a way I prefer her older work simply because if feels more open to interpretation rather than having an idea being told to you.
Maybe I'm being picky...

The plot of this story was interesting, the author does put her efforts into portraying or putting disabled characters as the protagonists and here we have a deaf woman who has been considered everything but that. This is an historical, so it's not so unbelievable but it can get to a unreasonable point if we think how old Annie is.
Nevertheless, part of the interest is to see how much improvement Annie can get by staying with people who will treat her well and by being challenged and heard despite her difficulties. Considering the lack of contemporary means to help her, I think Annie was quite lucky she had someone like Alex who would help her and be interested in what she was being able to do and understand.

Part of the help were their feelings for one another. Apparently this is very romantic for some, but I honestly think it wasn't as romantic, but more in the lines of sweet. This is obvious but Ale and Annie's relationship didn't feel as powerful as it can be and the last scenes when a certain conflict arises only to prove a point that I feel didn't have to be proved as too much and ruined part of the story for me. I guess I'd have liked to see better scenes between them at a point where they were still suspicious of one another and not unrealistic sugary moments following their confessing their feelings.

I think Annie's disability wasn't such an issue as we are led to see by others reactions to her. Ok, again, the setting has an important role to play here but I guess I'd want to see Annie try more on her own to be understood rather than being settled in her notion others wouldn't always understand her. This is not the purpose but it was the idea I got up to the point where she finally communicated with someone. I know I might not be fair and I wouldn't know how difficulty such a thing can be, but for fictional and romance purposes, it made things look too slow and lacking impact. To me, at least.

After considering everything, of course this is a good book. But I wasn't blown away by it or its content. I don't consider this a tearjerker, something in the interactions between the characters didn't move me that much. Yes, it's emotional and sad at times and beautiful at others but overall, it's not as strong as I imagined. It just lacks something for me. I don't know if it's the writing, the characters themselves, something in the plot, but although I liked it, I don't feel the need to re-read or the notion I'd do it in the future.
Grade: 7/10

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