Published by Grand Central Publishing on March 10th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Women, Crime, Family Life, Fiction, Psychological
ARC provided by Grand Central Publishing
Hanna Schutt never suspected that her younger daughter's happiness would lead to her husband's death and the destruction of their family. When Dawn brings her new boyfriend home from college for a visit, her parents and sister try to hide their doubts because they're glad that Dawn - always an awkward child - appears to have grown into a confident, mature young woman in her relationship with Rud. But when Hanna and her husband, Joe, are beaten savagely in their bed, Rud becomes the chief suspect and stands trial for Joe's murder.
Claiming her boyfriend's innocence, Dawn estranges herself from her mother, who survived the attack with serious injuries and impaired memory. When Rud wins an appeal and Dawn returns to the family home saying she wants to support her mother, Hanna decides to try to remember details of that traumatic night so she can testify to keep her husband's murderer in jail, never guessing that the process might cause her to question everything she thought she knew about her daughter.
Lacy Eye had me right away. The endearing tone of Hanna struggling though existence after a brutal attack. Everyone thinks her daughter is involved. The circumstances were just heartbreaking. This book shows the reader how dangerous a lacy eye can be. Ignorance is not always bliss.
This review contains no spoilers. Feel free to read on.
Hanna was brutally attacked three years ago. Her husband died in the attack and she can’t remember the details of what happened. When the police arrive she tells them that her daughter’s boyfriend, (Rud), did it. She can’t remember now any part of that evening since the attack has left her with a brain injury. Who did this and why is as much a mystery to Hanna as it is everyone else. Rud is found guilty of the attack and her daughter, Dawn, escapes indictment but still remains under scrutiny from everyone except Hanna. Now he has won an appeal. She just wants to forget it and try to live her life, but they ask her to testify this time and try to remember what happened. At the same time, Dawn decides to come home and stay with her mother. Dawn is a strange misfit who couldn’t see Rud for what he was. Now that she is separated from Rud, Hanna wants to make her daughter feel at home. The whole town, even her sister, thinks she was involved in the attack. How could Dawn not see Rud for what he was? How could Hanna believe Dawn is innocent?
This whole story takes place in first person with Hanna. She is a loving wife and mother. She sees her children for what they are. Dawn is the ugly sister, the one who never had friends and should have received surgery for her lazy eye when she was twelve. It makes sense that Dawn would grasp on to the first good looking guy to pay attention to her. Is Dawn resentful? Did Hanna do enough to protect her from the world? Why can’t she just be normal? Hanna struggles with her past decisions and tries to recall the details of that fateful evening when her husband died.
Her other daughter Iris is the beautiful one, the one with everything going for her. Iris comes off as a bit of a bully in the way she deals with her mother. Compared to Dawn, who in her twenties still calls her mother Mommy, everyone looks cruel. Dawn is the daughter she thinks is most like her, her favorite child. Dawn is the one who got the short end of the stick, the one who was made fun of in school, and had no friends. It is hard to see dawn as anything but a victim in this story.
In a series of memories Hanna has, we learn that Dawn brought Rud home from college to her sister’s wedding. Her parents had misgivings about Rud, but Dawn couldn’t understand why. There is even a scene with the dog that throws Rud’s moral character into question, but Hanna and Dawn are blind to that. Hanna tries to enjoy the time she has with her daughter all the while she deals with lawyers and press, and neighbors who should mind their own business.
Hanna is perfectly portrayed. She is confused and feels the way people look at her with her disfigured face. She remembers scenes from raising her daughter and painfully relives them while trying to cope with current events. This book really got under my skin. How well do we know the people we love? I read this book quickly, but that didn’t have any effect on my rating at all. The fact that three days later I am still thinking about it, that is what made this a 5 star read for me. I saw myself in Hanna. I also understood her more then I care to admit. We are just such optimists when it comes to the ones we love, looking at them with lacy eyes.
About the Author
A professor of creative writing at Emerson College in Boston, Jessica Treadway‘s story collection Please Come Back to Me received the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and was published by University of Georgia Press in 2010. Her other books are the novel And Give You Peace, which was published by Graywolf Press in 2001 and named to Booklist’s Top 10 Debut Novels of 2001, and the collection Absent Without Leave (Delphinium Books/Simon & Schuster), which received the John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares in 1993. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic, The Hudson Review, Ploughshares, Five Points, Glimmer Train, AGNI, Shenandoah, and Bellevue Literary Review, among others. Treadway has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of PEN New England, where she served as co-chair of the Freedom to Write Committee. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.