Thursday, December 11, 2008

Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

About the book:

When Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is forever changed. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography, spending all her free time at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs that he won’t let anyone see. When Bobbie dies, Laurel discovers a deeply hidden secret–a story that leads her far from her old life, and into a cat-and-mouse game with pursuers who claim they want to save her.

In a tale that travels between the Roaring Twenties and the twenty-first century, between Jay Gatsby’s Long Island and rural New England, bestselling author Chris Bohjalian has written his most extraordinary novel yet.


This is a story of a young social worker Laurel. She works at a small homeless shelter named BEDS in Vermont.

Several years earlier this avid bicyclist was brutally attacked by two men as she was riding her bike in a wooded area in Upstate Vermont. These two men were caught and sent to prison.

One of her clients at the homeless shelter is named Bobbie Crocker. He is an elderly man with a sparkling personality who at one time was a professional photographer. When he dies he leaves his mediocre photography collection with the shelter.

Laurel discovers that among his photographs are pictures of very famous celebrities of years ago. Also, she discovers two pictures of a young woman on a bicycle riding in a wooded area which she assumes could be her.

This is when she starts her quest to learn more about Bobbie Crocker and what kind of man he was.

A cleverly woven tale ensues when you learn that Bobbie is a direct descendant of James Gatz and Daisy Buchanan. A carefully intricate account of his young life is mapped out based on the F. Scott Fitgerald novel "The Great Gatsby".

But in all it's charm and glory, I found the book very difficult to read. It had a hard time holding my interest. I truly muddled through the novel. And while the end was shocking and deliberate, when all the pieces of the puzzle are put into place, I found it to be way too much too late.

Others have certainly disagreed with me on this book, so try it and see for yourself.

About the author:

CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of ten novels, including Midwives (a Publishers Weekly Best Book and an Oprah’s Book Club selection) and his most recent New York Times bestseller, Before You Know Kindness. His work has been translated into eighteen languages and published in twenty-one countries. He lives with his wife and daughter in Vermont.

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