We think our parents are in charge, right?Â Like they know what they’re doing?Â But the truth is, they’re making it up as they go along, just like we are.Â Just like everyone.Â If we judge them by their worst mistakes, they’re all, like, gargantuan failures.Â Maybe you should try judging your mom by her intentions, by whether she, like, loves you and is doing her best.
Such is the young teen wisdom of a minor character in Marisa de los Santos’ new book, Belong to Me. It is wisdom that spoke to me in my particular moment of grief, and made me think that perhaps my mother might want to be forgiven as much as I do, for the failure of her not getting better. If so, I am ready to forgive and just remember how much she loved me, how the last time I saw her, she told me she loved me at least 15 times.
Anyway, on to the book.Â A few years ago, I read another book by the same author, Love Walked In.Â It was chic lit, to be sure, but the best kind, the kind that is written well, that pulls you in, and makes you care about the characters.Â It turns out that Belong to Me is a sequel to Love Walked In, continuing the story of Cornelia Brown, but also bringing in a few other characters, characters who you aren’t so sure about at first, but who grow on you and you learn to admire them for their strengths, and to forgive them for their weaknesses.
I was interested to read that de los Santos is an award winning writer of poetry, something which comes through in her writing and makes you want to really care about the characters in her books. Â The strength of her words compensates for the slightly formulaic storyline, and the depth of the characters makes you want to keep reading more.
Belong to Me, like Love Walked In, is mainly about the strength of the ties that bind us all together, especially families in their many incarnations, but also the strengths and loyalties of friendships. I liked this book a lot, and I’m looking forward to the next book by Ms. de los Santos. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an easy summer read, especially one that doesn’t feel like a throw away book.Â This is a book, these are characters, that might just stick with you for awhile.