Monday, April 11, 2011

Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert

Essie, an eighty year old obituary journalist, battles to keep the small town's newspaper in circulation as she follows the story of the vanishing of a young girl, Lenore. The details surrounding the disappearance of the child are dreadfully uncertain. Her mother, Daisy, is a delusional woman who isn't truly dependable to get details from. Some even begin t doubt Lenore ever existed, but only in the mind of her fanatical parent. However, the journalistic mystery story is somehow keeping the little town alive in a depressed economy and attracting spectators from all over who have a wish to help find the young child. Then, rumors begin to surface about the small town being involved in printing the 11th and final book in a very popular book series. When, Lenore's mother Daisy begins broadcasting the reading of what might be a smuggled duplicate of the long awaited book, before its release date, the townsfolk begin to wonder if Lenore's disappearance was all just a fraud to promote the book.

The Coffins of Little Hope is something totally different, with a storyteller who is in her eighties the reader gets a completely different viewpoint. Death and dying, aging and living life to its fullest are all explored in this book. Even though many readers will experience a generational gap between themselves and the main character, Essie, her life challenges are still fun to read about. She's a strong willed with a determined disposition, who is easy to find laudable partly because of her freedom. Essie lives by herself and even still drives a car. Also, many subplots are found in this book, dealing with Essie's granddaughter Tiffany and her long lost mother returning to her life unexpectedly, and the quirky relationship Essie encourages with the author of the popular series are just a few.

The Coffins of Little Hope is a profound and multifaceted book and I would recommend this book to readers who pride themselves in finding hidden significance in books. I know somehow there is quite a bit more to this book than I was able to acquire from it. I read it as a story, taking it at face value, but I think there is another dimension waiting for another day.

4 Stars

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