Dutton, Sep 2003, 23.95, 288 pp.
Raised by a loving single father, Claire Cherney knows her life has been good even if she has always felt haunted by her mother deserting the two of them for Hollywood. She loves her husband and her two children, whom are away attending college. She enjoys her works as a Department of Social Services' psychiatrist and takes pleasure in running the Dune Beach Inn in Drifting, Connecticut. Still she misses her dad who died a few years ago and wonders why her mom left when she was two.
Though the off-season, Nick Pierce arrives with his blind seven-year-old daughter Kayla. Following a scary incident in which she sees how concerned Nick is with Kayla, Claire sympathizes with the father and daughter because she believes that the girl's mom deserted the two of them like her mother did her and her dad. However, she soon notices little things like how Nick acts impatient towards Kayla especially in color selections of wardrobe that seems so important to the little girl. She begins to wonder if her own bias blinds her to a different reality than her initial reaction.
DRIFTER is a powerful look at relationships and how one sees the world through incidents that shaped their lives. The story line provides a deep look into Claire who never forgot that her mom left her though her dad nurtured and loved her and her spouse and children also love and encourage her. She sees people through what happened to her. Though the tale adds an unnecessary suspense element towards the end, Stephanie Gertler provides a potent character study.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner