Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Theory of All Things by Peggy Leon

Peggy Leon’s second novel is an original story, with an interesting cast of characters – all with different personalities and voices – yet all molded of the same stuff. Her story is way more than interesting, and kept me turning pages.

The story revolves around the six Bennett children, their father who suffers from Alzheimer’s, a mother who disappeared years before, and two young women in relationships with two of the sons. The story is told in diary form, with snippets of e-mails sprinkled in between.

Peter, the oldest, committed suicide sometime after the mother abandoned the family. Sarah, a photographer, and her twin sister, Ellie, a sculptor, live in New York and on an Aegean Island, respectively. Mary has stayed at home to care for Frank, their father, and even though she has an advanced degree in English Literature, she has never worked outside the home. She is also the anchor that holds the family together. Luke is the youngest, and he is a loner, who wanders the roads around Southern California and collects discarded soda and beer cans which he fashions into mobiles. Luke also collects Willow, a young woman with story-telling tattoos and piercings galore.

The sixth sibling – and the most interesting -- is Mark. He has a PhD in physics, and never misses an opportunity to apply scientific principles to every aspect of life. Somewhat dorky and relationship-challenged, he is dating Clare, a graduate student where he teachers.

With amazing skill, Leon has created unique voices for all these characters. I hope this novel makes it to the big screen, because the humor, the mild pathos, the tension all work together so well with these characters, I can see them and hear their voices as I read. This book is now available, and you want to get on the Peggy Leon bandwagon now! 5 stars

--Chiron, 3/10/10