Monthly Archives: July 2011

Big Novel Starring Small Girl

THIS is one to take to the beach this summer. It’s juicy yet literary, plotted like a film yet character-driven, scandalous yet thoughtful. I guess I should mention the voice and the writing while I’m at it. And the author’s interesting biography. Seriously. Google her.


I’ve been writing a lot of book reviews lately and haven’t had much time for pleasure/research/inspiration reading. I finally got a break and chose to revisit Borderlines, a memoir by Caroline Kraus. I got the galley (advance reading copy) back in 2002 when I worked in the Literary department at William Morris. It was one of the gazillion galleys sent to my boss every week. I started reading at my desk and could not stop. I didn’t do much of anything else until I finished it.
I moved recently and my book collection was upended and I rediscovered Borderlines. Remembering how much I loved it at age 22 (Character-Caroline is in her early 20s in the memoir [narrator-Caroline speaks from a later place of reflection, a great example of Phillip Lopate's philosophy of double perspective])) I wondered if it would be just as great nine years later.
It was. I knew where it was going and still felt all the suspense and tension. Kraus manages to turn an introspective story about a dysfunctional “friendship” and her mother’s death into a page-turning thriller that’s also a deep look into one woman’s mind and grief. She makes you feel like you’re living it with her, and it’s a terrifying ride. I’m so glad I revisited this winning memoir that’s a beautiful use of the form. Kraus is a screenwriter, too, so I’m hoping a movie version is in the works.