Putnam, Jul 2001, 24.95, 303 pp.
The residents of Monroe, Massachusetts believe that Ethan Ford is the most dependable and hardest working person in town. The locals consider Ethan so trustworthy, he has his own keys to many of the homes he is remodeling. Besides being an excellent carpenter, Ethan is a volunteer firefighter and a highly regarded unpaid coach. After thirteen years together, he still loves his wife Jorie and their twelve years old child.
One knock on their door ends this perfect world. The police detain Ethan for a murder that occurred before he met Jorie. To add insult to injury, friends who worked along side of Ethan on fire calls read him his rights before arresting him. No one believes that the respectful, revered Ethan could commit this heinous crime, but the evidence that he murdered and raped a teen in Maryland seems overwhelming. The statue begins to fall from its pedestal.
Anyone expecting a glib tie the ribbon in a bow ending can forget it with Alice Hoffman's deep literary character study, BLUE DIARY. Instead, the story line is an astonishing look at the impact of an ugly crime apparently committed by the big fish on the little fish in that pond. The key to the tale is not whether Ethan raped and killed in a previous life. Instead the plot is so good due to the depth of the secondary and tertiary cast members whose reactions to the growing evidence against the local hero follow the pattern of grieving individuals. Ms. Hoffman goes where few writers have traveled before as she provides an intriguing, well-written portrait of the human condition.
This synopsis report prepared by Harriet Klausner