Saturday, November 06, 2010

Island Girl by Lynda Simmons - Library Journal Review

I haven't reviewed a book for Library Journal for a while, but I always appreciate the opportunity to review books for them.  I review women's fiction there, and they send me the book with a quick turnaround time.  It gives me the chance to discover new authors, and read ones I might not have otherwise read. 

The following review appeared in XPress Reviews - The First Look at New Books, Nov. 5, 2010.

Simmons, Lynda. Island Girl. Berkley: Penguin Group (USA). Dec. 2010. c.448p. ISBN 9780425237243. pap. $15. F

Wards Island can only be reached from Toronto Harbor by ferry or plane, but the distance is even more unbridgeable between Ruby Donaldson and her two grown daughters, Liz and Grace. Two years earlier, a tragedy forced Grace back home to the island, leaving an angry Liz to give up her career as a lawyer, turning to drink, while refusing to speak to Ruby. Ruby had wanted to protect Grace, who suffered from "mild intellectual delay," while Liz wanted to fight for Grace's freedom. When Ruby learns she has early-onset Alzheimer's, her goal remains to protect Grace from life while she tries to force Liz to return home to care for her sister. The three women alternate telling their struggle to reconnect despite Ruby's ongoing need for control.

Verdict:  Anyone looking for a story of strong women fighting for mastery over their lives will appreciate Simmons's second novel (after Getting Rid of Rosie). However, those who want a more in-depth look at dealing with Alzheimer's would be better served by Lisa Genova's Still Alice.—Lesa Holstine, Glendale P.L., AZ

Copyright 2010. Library Journals, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.

Lynda Simmons' website is

FTC Full Disclosure - My review copy was supplied by Library Journal, for review purposes.


bermudaonion said...

I do like to read about strong women, so I might enjoy this one.

Sharon said...

It sounds interesting and very sad. Did you enjoy it?

Lesa said...

This is an interesting mix of women, Kathy. I'd take a chance on it, if I were you.

Lesa said...


I did like it. As you can see, though, when I do an LJ book review, it isn't to tell whether I liked it or not. It's to summarize it, possibly compare it to other books, and tell librarians what audience might want to read the book.

But, I liked the book, and I found the ending appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to read about this book. I have Alice and learned a lot from that book so I know that I would be very interested in this one. One of my close friends has early onset and it is very frightening.


Lesa said...


This is another very good book. It's not Alice, but, again, it shows family and friends rallying around. It must be very frightening to see early onset in your friend. I'm sorry.

kathy d. said...

Just as an aside on the issue of cute cats, Karen Meeks has posted on her Eurocrime website some photos of her cat, Foxy, who is a ham disguised as a cat.

If one scrolls below, there are some more photos of her cats, including one who is 19 years old.

Lesa said...

Thanks, kathy. I'll have to go check out those pictures. Love cute cats!

Ingrid King said...

I'll add this to my list. Early onset Alzheimer's is such a disturbing topic, I'll have to work up my courage to tackle it, but I thought Still Alice was phenomenal, and I learned a lot from it, so I think I'll give this one a try.

Lesa said...

Still Alice was phenomenol, wasn't it, Ingrid? This book will make you appreciate the friends that rally around, despite the main character's wishes. This is a story of relationships as much as it is early-onset Alzheimer's.

kathy d. said...

Sounds good. Am a little afraid to read it as my family went through a lot of stress when our mother was diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's four years ago. We had to deal with her residence, all of her belongings (I still have 10 boxes), get her into assisted living--and while she was very enraged about the whole thing.

She did not want to leave her apartment nor our city nor her friends. It took a village, literally, to deal with this.

Her assisted living (which she still resents four years later) is so wonderful, that I wish I could vacation many activities I get tired reading the calendar.

And, one thing to know, usually the person with dementia is the last to know. (This may not be the case in these books, or for everyone, but it is usually the case, which makes things harder for the family.)

Lesa said...

Interesting, kathy, and you may not want to read these books now. It did take a village, in the case of this book, to deal with Ruby and her Alzheimer's. But, it still might not be the time, nor the subject, for you.