Tuesday, September 30, 2008 by Ma T
The Kindness of Strangers was not an easy book to read because of its subject matter. However, it was nearly impossible for me to put this book down.
Sarah Laden, a widow with two sons, believes she is friends with Courtney Kendrick, mother of Jordan Kendrick. When Sarah's husband died, it was Courtney who stayed in touch with Sarah and encouraged her to deal with her grief and not lose interest in her own life. Sarah's son, Danny, and Courtney's son, Jordan, are in the same grade in school and are also friends. In fact, Danny is one of the only friends Jordan has since he is often a reclusive child who seems to have few if any social skills. His mother has implied he may be autistic.
Kittle has interwoven the lives of her characters in such a realistic way that it's possible to believe good friends like Sarah and Courtney could really not be aware of what was going on behind the closed doors of their individual homes. Which makes what happens to these two families all the more horrifying when their carefully constructed images begin to unravel. Secrets are carefully protected so that no one person has a clear picture of the whole. For me, the book kept the tension inherent in these kinds of situations throughout.
It was obvious to me from the beginning of this book that Kittle well researched her topic. I particularly liked the way she wrote about the children in her book. As a result of reading The Kindness of Strangers, I will be looking for more of her work.