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Recent Reviews for Cynthia Rogers Parks


Houses (Book) - 1/21/2011 11:09:02 PM
Houses, a Novel by Cynthia Rogers Parks Publisher Leigh Walker Books This simply titled book was a pleasant surprise to me. It is written as a memoir and I had to keep reminding myself that this is a novel, not Cynthia Rogers Park's memoir, although I'm sure there is a great deal of herself in the book. "Houses" is the memoir of Lacey Winter. It is also a snapshot of historic moments of the U.S. through the 1950s, 60's, 70's and on toward the millennium; the growth of changes after WWII, through the Viet Nam era, the deaths of President John F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. A time she measures by the houses she lived in. Everyone has a method of recording the events in their lives. To me, it is generally the ages of my children, but after reading this memorable book, I find I identify with Lacey's memories of time, attached to which house she was living in. It seemed only right that she would eventually work in real estate. Lacey's story begins as a child living with her Grandmother and her younger sister with very rare visits from her father. Her mother died in an accident and he is "looking for a new mother". From this point on, Lacey seems to spend her life moving from house to house, sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes bad. Sometimes the houses are "happy" and sometimes they are not. All houses take on a personality that she tries to imprint herself on, but many times the houses imprint her. Sometimes she is upgrading, sometimes downgrading, according to her life and the turns of national economy. In the real time period of this book, life sped up so fast, it was hard to know what would be thrown at you next. Segregation was still in effect, women were on the edge of being recognized, but these and wars, and yes, even the hippie movement all meant huge changes in the country. And for every change, another house, another hopeful start. I feel that the author has done a very good, tightly written novel of so many opposing factors, keeping the theme of houses commensurate with life. For many of us our home or lack of home, even shared home was our life. This would be a good book club read deserving discussion, as well as for individual readers who grew up in this era. I found the book to have a very intriguing style and a believable storyline. I liked the book very much. It covers a lot of ground and demonstrates a definite slice of life in the last half of the twentieth century, making it real.

Houses (Book) - 3/29/2010 10:10:20 PM
Houses: A Novel Author: Cynthia Rogers Parks Publisher: Leigh Walker Books ISBN: 978-0-615-32893-5 We all measure our life using markers as milestones. For some, it's by decade, by age of the firstborn child, by family births or deaths. Lacey Winters measures her life in houses. Each house she's lived in marked an era of her life. For example, early childhood was spent in her paternal Grandmother's home. Her mother only a faint memory, Lacy and her younger sister Sophie had Grandmother, a traveling salesman father and Thelma, her Grandmother's trusted houseworker. Later, it would be a new ranch style suburban home purchased by her father and his new wife, Maureen. Daddy and Maureen now worked together, on the road most the time, the girls looked after by Nana, Maureen's mother. The subdivision was new, with just planted trees and raw soil, still too new for the grass to have taken hold in the yards. The girls played with neighborhood children, and time passed on, from the 1950s and into the turbulent 60s, where we follow Lacey throught the growing up rites of passage: first love, excitement of new beginnings, and heartbreak with the 60s world-changing events as a backdrop. Author Cynthia Rogers Parks has written a truly captivating novel with well developed and multi-dimensional characters. She writes the story of a girl and her family with all the events that have shaped the lives of Americans through the 1950s, turbulent 60s, politically wrought 70s, the crazy me first 80s and the rollercoasting 90s into the new millenium. Throughout all these decades of changes, the American dream remains unchanged: home ownership. We follow Lacey through her homes, the big, the small, the well loved, the despised, the transient. I really enjoyed the authori's innovative way of looking at the passages of life through the homes Lacey lived in. For most women, our homes are an integral part of us, they display our treasures, hide our heartbreaks and secrets and are our sanctuary from the outside world. I could not put this book down. It's a truly wonderful story, and you will feel connected to Lacey in a way that is all too seldom felt in novels. She is a character you'll remember with affection, and Houses is a book you will treasure.

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