HARMONY
Joanne Goodman

 


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NAL, August 2007
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding

New mother Anne Mahroum is obsessed with the one imperfection in her newborn son Evan. She is filled with shame and feels like a failure because Evan was born with a deformity.

Anne is a successful artist and her husband, Elie, is a wealthy numismatic (a person who studies and collects coins). They have a great life but when their son is born with club feet it alters their relationship. Anne becomes obsessed with fixing Evan's imperfection. Elie throws himself into searching for a nearly impossible-to-find coin to complete a rare collection.

In Anne's support group meeting for parents of children with club feet, she begins to question what caused Evan to be born with this condition. Is it inherited? Does it have something to do with her father? Her mother Jean left Anne's father and moved away from the commune in Harmony, British Columbia when Anne was a young child. She doesn't know much about her father but a passing comment by Jean, "...that people warned me when I left your father that God would punish me," causes serious questions to surface. When Anne finally discovers the truth about her father, the impact changes how she views everything: Evan, Elie and her mother Jean.

HARMONY is a story of self discovery and family secrets. It is through Annie's eyes that we take this journey and experience her fixation with perfection. It explores issues of motherhood, happiness and fidelity. It explores her sexual fantasies. Joanne Goodman has created an interesting character and expertly conjured the forces that bring Anne face to face with her childhood. Evan's many surgeries and castings to correct his condition are treated with compassion and sympathy. If you are expecting a book with a happily ever after ending, this is not the book for you. The self exploration is genuine and takes an honest look at an imperfect life.

January 2008

 

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