Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Mrs. Kimble By: Jennifer Haigh

Mrs. KimbleMrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ms. Haigh's first novel is an amazing tale of one man, the women he married, the children he had, and the changes over time.
Ken Kimble is seen in his relationship with others, and over time (time and time again) he goes through changes and development (or lack thereof) of his personality. Each woman he married has a glimpse of him, the time, and of family - they are reflections and yet so much more.
Birdie, his first wife, a woman of the fifties that he abandons along with his two children, his ministry, his family, his job - all for the love/lust of a student. How Ken leaves and the wake afterward (that lasts years) for Birdie, Charlie, and Jody strips these characters raw and to the truth, the pain, the anger, and even the ambiguity.
Joan who had no one when she had a mastectomy and was alone (despite her brother) in her father's death, becomes wife number two. Joan has money and connections, she lives in a mansion in Florida and is introduced to Ken as her friend's daughter's boyfriend. Ken creates a new world, with no past, and shows himself to be an opportunist. Lies come naturally and naturally they unfold. Once independent and career driven, Joan becomes shrunken and a sadness envelops her, that even cancer seems like a sweet outlet.
Dinah, the youngest and last wife of Ken, once was the babysitter to Charlie and Jody. A chance encounter has Dinah swept off her feet - afterall she did have a crush on him when she was 14 and him hitting her in his car certainly had her in the air. This time Ken is more than established, having millions from Joan and selling off Joan's uncle's real estate business (that he conned to get), yet he is still searching for more. The charm of a big home and new gowns that lacks Ken's presence in their son Brendan's life leaves a bitter taste and has her having an affair. After Ken's heart attack, Dinah extends the olive branch to Charlie and Jody - it works, for her, not their father. The evil she once overlooked in his character is stained when he takes off and has the government looking into him.
I loved the depth and vulnerability of each character. I felt for each one, even Ken - which is too easy to dislike, but with each page develops more pity from me. I recommend this as a must read.

View all my reviews