Thank you so much Marlene Hauser for sending me a physical copy of Geraniums for free in exchange for an honest review. This is the second book I have been lucky enough to read by Marlene. You can check out my review of Off-Island here.
Geraniums is Marlene Hauser's second novel and boy are you in for a ride. Marlene writes with brutal honesty that shows the harsh realities of being human. To be honest with you dear Reader at times Geraniums is uncomfortable to read but I think that is down to the reality of knowing that this is just a unique fictional situation.
I saw someone in a review say this book is an “intense forensic exploration of a dysfunctional family.” For lack of better words from my own brain I think they’ve hit the nail on the head so to speak this book is unapologetically human. It focuses on the bleak reality of humanity where people are genuinely living their lives at the hands of narcissistic and abusive families.
This book is different from other books that have dysfunctional families thanks to it analysing the “Horrors” in a compassionate way which adds another layer to this complex multi-layered story. Geraniums tells the story of a young girl called Lily growing up in a dysfunctional family in the US with a father in the forces and his mother who embodies my worst fears in a mother-in-law. You know that Mother-in-Law who has decided that no one is good enough for their darling little boy and makes its everyone else’s problem.
Poor Lily who is guilty by association by having the audacity to be born what away to treat your granddaughter. Lily is an extraordinary written character; she is very real and human. Lily has had a difficult life at the hands of her Father and Grandmother, yet she remains remarkable positivity and will have you right beside her ready to fight anyone for her. The story kept me on my toes wondering how she could ever escape the cruelties of her life.
This book is an emotional rollercoaster of rage and sympathy and I was there every step of the journey. I don’t think I am explaining it very well dear readers but yes, this book is a work of fiction, but we all know someone who has a monster in law or dysfunctional family who we love and protect. For me personally this book tapped right into that, and I buckled up for the ride.