Review of The Tender Grave by Sheri Reynolds
The Tender Grave opens in a dramatic fashion. Seventeen-year-old Dori and her boyfriend are suspects in a hate crime committed against a gay classmate. Her mother gives her enough money to leave town and hands her the address of a half-sister she has never met. Right away Dori’s plight makes you question your own emotional responses. Do you have empathy for a girl running away from this terrible act as she is all alone and ill-equipped to survive on her own or are you disgusted by the decision both she and her mother have made to avoid prosecution? Living by her wits and some theft Dori finds her way to her sister Teresa’s town when she is picked up by the local police for vagrancy.
Teresa and Jen are renovating an old motel and trying to get pregnant. When the police show up at Teresa’s door she is as shocked to meet Dori as Dori is shocked to find out her sister is married to another woman.
This is a powerful and thought-provoking read. Both sisters have shared the same unstable mother and both have been damaged emotionally. Teresa’s constant yearning to have a child and her ongoing frustration at being unable to conceive masks underlying abandonment issues. Dori’s life with her erratic parents has left her with no moral compass and an inability to trust in others. Both are survivors and both are searching for the stability they have missed in their childhood.
Impressive and captivating literary fiction I won’t soon forget. 4 stars
A copy of this book was given to LezReviewBooks by the publisher for review.