NAL, Apr 2003, 12.95, 256 pp.
Stunned because she thought they had a solid family relationship, Peri Mackenzie walks in a sad fog following the total desertion by her spouse. The housewife and mother of three finds more than just the emotional rug ripped from underneath her, as her husband left the foursome with no financial floor either.
Months later with the depression even deeper, Peri drives away from her three children. Teenager Carly takes over running the household though she pretty much had done so unofficially for the past few months. However, when her handicapped sister Brooke becomes feverish, Carly turns to their neighbor for help. That neighbor locates their estranged grandfather Carl, who takes in his three grandchildren who he sees as a chance for redemption. When Peri regains her equilibrium and realizes what she did, she races home, but now must re-earn the respect of her children.
Although well written and providing insight into what bonds a family unit, WHEN YOU GO AWAY avoids being a tearjerker but the reader feels no empathy towards Peri. The story line intrigues fans of character studies as it clinically dissects what can happen to individuals and a family when a major shattering event occurs but the key quintet, though fully developed, never grips the audience. Jessica Barksdale Inclan provides a perceptive tale, but the audience will wonder why the tissue box remained closed?
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner