WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS
By Barbara Delinsky
Reviewed by Don Meyer
This is the story of how the various members of a family, as well as others, deal with a tragedy. There is not really any villain in this story, at least not in the usual sense of the word.
The Snows’ own and operate a garden nursery that they had started some 30 years ago in New Hampshire that apparently is quite successful. And all the family members - father, mother, and three adult children - play some role in its operation.
The story starts with sister Molly getting a phone call from the local hospital telling her that her sister Robin has been in an accident, is there at the hospital, and that she - Molly - should get there as soon as possible.
Seems that Robin has suffered a heart attack and is in serious condition. Robin had been discovered on the running track by a good Samaritan (David Harris) who called for an ambulance, and administered artificial respiration. Robin had been hoping to be selected for the coming olympics, and was in training for that. Apparently she was quite a good runner, and had the backing of her family, most especially her mother.
The story centers around how each member of the family reacts to this tragedy, and the emotions toward one another during this time of grief. But there are other story lines that intertwine with the main story. There is son Chris’s problem with his wife, David Harris’ problem with one of his students, who happens to be the daughter of the school superintendent. Then there is newspaper reporter Nick Duquette, who claims to be in love with Robin, but the Snow family doesn’t trust him. There is also a nursery employee who oversteps her area of authority, and has to be dealt with. And finally there are all the athlete runners who are Robin’s friend, and want to express their concern. Of course there are all the doctors and nurses at the hospital with whom the Snow family interacts.
There is yet one other major character, but I don’t want to spoil the story for those who may want to read it.
There is one other aspect to this story that is important to the plot, and yet of wider importance -- the issue of organ donation. I strongly suspect that the statistics cited are accurate as of the time the book was written (published in 2009) because the author is quite meticulous in her research.
All in all I found this book to be most engaging. Although much of the plot is unhappy, it does end on a hopeful and positive note.
My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't.
I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.
Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.