Friday, January 2, 2015

Cathie Pelletier Beams Sonny Home

Beaming Sonny Home
"You're not going to believe what he's done now," Rita said to her mother as she frantically punched at the channel numbers on the remote. "...because what Sonny has done this time takes the cake."

Mattie Gifford dropped down on the sofa and clasped her throat. Sonny, her son, had been the cause of a great deal of throat-clasping over the years. And now, at 66 years of age, Mattie would have to wonder if she could stand the shock of it. Sonny was on television and for all the wrong reasons. 

Her boy, the only person in the world who hadn't directly added to the mountain of regret and grief that Mattie carried around with her, had robbed a bank and taken two women hostage. The three of them, and a poodle, were now held up in a trailer that belonged to Sonny's estranged wife. The police had the trailer surrounded, waiting for a statement. Mattie, her heart fluttering, waited with them. 

Beaming Sonny Home is a surprisingly poignant story about relationships. 

Despite providing the novel its pivotal piece of tension, the bank robbery and subsequent hostage taking is only a backdrop to account for the life of Mattie. While Sonny had been in trouble before, she saw him as the only one who had managed to keep their relationship intact. 

The rest of them had only caused her heartache. Her mother had committed suicide. Her husband slept with her best friend. Her three daughters are selfish busybodies who spend most of their time judging each other, arguing, and throwing jealous barbs at the one brother their mother liked best. 

The three of them had plenty of fuel to add to the fire this time. Sonny had claimed to have seen John Lennon's face in an apparition and believed that robbing the bank and taking hostages would be the best way to reconcile with his wife and get his life back on track. The mere thought of it made his sisters cackle in horrific delight as they munched pub pizzas, gulped diet soda, and chain smoked cigarettes. 

Mattie can't help but to wonder what she had done in her life to find herself here. And mostly, that is what Beaming Sonny Home is really about. While she never set out to choose this life, a series of events shaped her relationships, with her daughters taking more after their father than her. In its totality, the quick and witty read digs deep into a small town life with limited possibilities and an infinite supply of challenges that range from ubiquitous gossip to evaporating employment.

Originally published in 1996, a reissue reviews one of the best sardonic character studies contributed to literary fiction by Cathie Pelletier. Mattie is unforgettable for her blind love for an underachieving son who has been in and out of trouble with the law for the better part of 36 years. With equal parts humor and vulnerability, Pelletier brings to life a woman who still managing to hold out hope despite feeling like she has completely failed at life.

A few more graphs about Cathie Pelletier. 

Cathie Pelletier
Author Cathie Pelletier has written twelve novels, ten of which are under her own name, beginning with The Funeral Makers, published by MacMillan in 1986. She also wrote two books under the pseudonym K.C. McKinnon. Both of those novels, Dancing at the Harvest Moon and Candles on Bay Street, were made into television movies.

Pelletier's career unexpectedly began as a student who showed exceptional aptitude and was advanced two grades. At sixteen, she was accepted  to attend the University of Maine at Fort Kent. At seventeen, she was expelled for breaking curfew and pulling the fire alarm. Following her expulsion, she hitchhiked across the United States before returning to school to become a songwriter. While several of her songs have been recorded, Pelletier eventually found fiction as a creative outlet.

Beaming Sonny Home By Cathie Pelletier Hits 8.4 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

While readers seem to both love and loathe this particular novel penned by Pelletier, Beaming Sonny Home survives the test of time. In more ways than one, it may have been written ahead of its time as today's audiences are even more likely to relate to a story of someone who measures their life by living vicariously through the people around her.

Beaming Sonny Home: A Novel by Cathie Pelletier is available on Amazon. The novel is also available for iBooks or as an audiobook on iTunes. Narrated by Erin Moon, Mattie comes across as a younger, more vibrant version of herself. Check Barnes & Nobles for other Cathie Pelletier titles.
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