Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Island Girl by Lynda Simmons


Ruby Donaldson is a vibrant woman, a lifelong activist who has always been completely independent and in control of her life ~ and that of at least one of her daughters. Now, at age 55, she has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, and she is determined to continue to do what she wants to do despite what everyone else thinks. And what she wants to do is end her life before the disease takes over completely. But first, she has to pull her family back together before she goes.

Island Girl by Lynda Simmons is a touching and heartbreaking story, but it is also so much more. The story is told by three characters: Ruby, her oldest daughter Liz, and her youngest daughter Grace. While Ruby is dealing with Alzheimer's, her daughters have their own struggles. Liz is a former lawyer turned alcoholic after a tragic event related to her sister a few years ago. But she finds herself in the position to help a friend if she can only manage to straighten herself out. Grace has always been a little slow, so her mother has tried to shelter her and protect her all her life, which led to a major conflict between Ruby and Liz that Ruby is determined to resolve before she loses herself to "Big Al."

In addition to the challenges between mother and daughters, Ruby also finds herself reunited with a former lover who has always been like a father figure to her daughters. He is desperately trying to get Ruby to change her mind about doing herself in before the Alzheimer's takes over. And he is also determined to get mother and daughters back together again before it's too late.

This is a wonderful family drama that has plenty of storylines to keep the pages turning, without being overly complex. Despite the serious nature of the story, Simmons includes plenty of laughter and happiness as well. I will say I was concerned about how I would like hearing about Alzheimer's from Ruby's perspective since one of my favorite books, Still Alice by Lisa Genova, also has a woman with Alzheimer's as the narrator. But this book was very different, and I would highly recommend it. It's much more of a family story and gets into many other topics beyond Alzheimer's, including alcoholism, family dynamics, activism, suicide, coming of age issues, and much more. I would say Island Girl would make an excellent book club selection as well.

My Rating: 5/5

Read an excerpt

Visit the author's website, or find her on Facebook.

Read other reviews of Island Girl at TLC Book Tours

This review was written based on a copy of Island Girl that I received from Pump Up Your Book in exchange for an honest review.

GIVEAWAY

The author has graciously offered a copy of Island Girl to one of my readers. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses only. To enter, just leave a comment below with your email address.

For extra entries:
  • Leave a separate comment if you follow My Book Retreat through Google Friend Connect.
  • Leave a separate comment if you follow @MyBookRetreat on Twitter.
  • Leave a separate comment if you Like My Book Retreat on Facebook.
The contest ends on Saturday, July 2nd at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be picked using Random.org and notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

19 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great book. Please enter me.
    ristaut@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would like to read this book! dsypherd@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is good to be back at last catching up with your blogging activities, what a shame I cannot enter for this give away, it sounds interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds interesting!

    ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great giveaway and review! Thanks for the chance to win!
    mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Following with Google Friend Connect
    mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Following you on twitter as mrsmchappell
    mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would enjoy reading this, thank you for the chance :)

    Mary D
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mary D
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

    And am a new follower via
    Google friend connect

    ReplyDelete
  10. Awesome! Count me in :D

    quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I follow via GFC quixoticdreamer

    quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I follow via Twitter @quixoticdreamer

    quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I liked your Facebook page

    Brittany Gale

    quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  14. This sounds like a good read. Alzheimers is such a sad disease!
    smchester at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I follow you on GFC.
    smchester at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the giveaway :)
    This book sounds like something I would love. I enjoy books about family dynamics/drama.

    monagargATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  17. GFC(Mona Garg)

    moagargATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  18. Twitter(@Kulmona)

    monagargATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  19. FB(Mona Garg)

    monagargATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!