RESCUE by Anita Shreve

Book Quote:

“They had one good month followed by a bad month. Then they had three good weeks followed by a horrific week. During the bad weeks, Webster began repeating a single phrase over and over, like a tune he couldn’t get out of his head: My family needs to be rescued. It galled him that he … couldn’t suture the simple lacerations in his home life.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky  (NOV 30, 2010)

When Vermont native Peter Webster was twenty-one and a probationary EMT, he helped rescue a drunk driver who wrapped herself around a tree. The victim was twenty-four year old Sheila Arsenault, a woman fleeing from an abusive boyfriend in Massachusetts. Sheila and Webster pair up too quickly for either of them to take a hard look at their motives. Webster is attracted to Sheila physically and wants to help her move on with her life. Sheila is drawn to Webster because he is kind, mature, and makes her feel safe. Pete will regret his rashness in getting involved with Sheila, but he will never regret the birth of their daughter, Rowan. Circumstances change for Webster and Sheila over the years. However, Rowan will always be number one in her father’s life.

Rescue, by Anita Shreve, focuses on the ways in which parents and children deal with physical and emotional trauma. It is a poignant story about a good man who makes a mistake, but takes full responsibility for his actions. Webster is a conscientious parent and a hard-working breadwinner who accepts the fact that he must make the best of a bad situation. Some might quibble that Webster is too good to be true and that may be so. Nevertheless, he is a person we can root for wholeheartedly. The capricious Sheila, on the other hand, is a tortured soul who lacks the self-knowledge to comprehend that no one can save her from herself.

Shreve’s style is concise and straightforward, with no flashbacks, no changes in points of view, and no gimmickry. One outstanding aspect of this novel is Shreve’s vivid depiction of the heroic work of EMTs and paramedics: We are there with Will when he rushes to help the injured in a six-vehicle pileup involving a school bus; a woman in heart failure; a mother and daughter involved in a domestic dispute; and a man who is has suffered a stroke. These are dramatic and unforgettable scenes that demonstrate how people’s lives can change drastically in an instant. Shreve’s attention to the details of everyday life illuminates her characters’ hopes, fears, and disappointments. The author offers no pat answers—just the insight that, in any relationship, love is not enough. It can grow and thrive only when it is accompanied by respect, communication, and genuine concern for the loved one’s happiness and well-being.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-0from 99 readers
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company (November 30, 2010)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: More reviews of Anita Shreve books:


*Set in same NH Beach House


Movies from books:

November 30, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, NE & New York

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.