Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle

An astonishing novel from the acclaimed author of Keepsake that pushes the boundaries of storytelling. At turns shocking, provocative, and heart-wrenching, and inspired by a true story The Whole Golden World forces us to ask the question "How well do we really know our children?"

To the outside Diana and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and a café that's finally taking off. But their world is rocked when it's discovered that their oldest daughter, 17-year-old Morgan is having an affair with her married teacher, TJ Hill.

Their town rocks with the scandal. When the case goes to trial, the family is torn further apart when Morgan sides not with her parents-as a manipulated teenage girl; but with TJ himself-as a woman who loves a 30-year-old man.

Told from the perspectives of Morgan, Diana, and TJ's wife, Rain, this is an unforgettable story that fully explores the surprising, even shocking, events that change the lives of two families.

My Thoughts:
What a book. We hear stories in the news way to often about teacher/student 'relationships' more often than we should. I went into this novel pretty open minded. I really wasn't sure what to expect, wasn't sure how everything would play out.

17 year old Morgan crushes on her Math teacher, TJ Hill. He is good looking, youngish, and the 'fun' teacher always there to listen and take an interest in his students. Morgan is mature and a good student. She has been a huge help as a 'little mother' to her younger twin brothers. After a break-up with her boyfriend, Morgan begins to feel less connected to her fellow classmates.

TJ is teaching a class that is really pressing him, while at home his wife, Rain is pushing him non-stop about having a baby. Morgan and TJ open up to one another, a inappropriate relationship ensues.

Once the relationship is found out, Morgan's parents expect Morgan to believe she is a victim. They expect the entire town to believe she is a victim, but they are shocked to by reactions. Even Rain stands by her man, believing TJ is the victim.

The story is told from the perspectives of Morgan, Diana (Morgan's mother), and Rain. I read the book from the perspective of former teenage girl, mother of a teenage girl, and as a wife. Riggle nailed all three perspectives. I really tried to relate to each character with the same perspective and I felt overwhelmed with mixed feelings. I mean TJ is guilty...but jail? One side was like oh heck yeah what a pervert, another side was like's not like she is a kid, I mean she is almost a legal adult. For me the best part of the novel that really put the spotlight on the real truth is when Diana talks to the media. I won't give anything away, but she really puts it all in perspective.

I found myself relating to each character on some level. With Morgan, I was a dumb teenager--I did find this a little harder now that I've gotten older, lol. Diana is trying to be a good mom, but clearly allowed too much of the caring for her twins on Morgan. Not only is Diana busy, she also tends to coddle her children (been guilty of this myself). She is not doing them any good. She works hard to make it all better. Rain, might be hard for some women to relate to. She is obsessed with her desire to get pregnant and her willingness to stand by TJ. I respected how Rain wanted everything to be ok, get back to normal.

For me, the best part of the novel is the growth of each character. It's not immediate, they don't always see things right off the bat. However, over time they all open their eyes and begin seeing what others have told them. Those mixed feelings I had though a large part of the novel, they too changed...evolved.

I believe Kristina Riggle didn't just tell a story, she really presses us to examine how we look at our young teens. I am highly recommending THE WHOLE GOLDEN WORLD!
Buy a copy of The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle 

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Tuesday, November 5th: Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, November 7th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, November 11th: she treads softly
Tuesday, November 12th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, November 13th: A Novel Review
Thursday, November 14th: Lectus
Monday, November 18th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Tuesday, November 19th: Girls Just Reading
Wednesday, November 20th: The Well-Read Redhead
Monday, November 25th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, November 26th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, November 27th: Book-alicious Mama
Thursday, November 28th: Time 2 Read
Monday, December 2nd: Read Lately
Tuesday, December 3rd: Books in the Burbs
Wednesday, December 4th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Thursday, December 5th: The Little Reader Library
Monday, December 9th: Sweet Southern Home

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