Connie H. (Evanston, IL)
Finding Their Own Way
Helen, capable and independent, and her three adult daughters meet every summer at their lake house. Each must do some soul searching regarding their romantic relationship. Warm and insightful, their stories are told in chapters that are almost complete unto themselves, until they come together determining what really matters in each of their lives and what mating for life means to them. Stapley begins each chapter with information about the mating habits of a species which is reflected in some way in the lives of her characters, who are entertaining, funny and perceptive.
Toni K. (Memphis, TN)
Mating for Life
It took me a while to get into this book. When that happens I just put it aside and begin again. I am so glad I did. I loved this book with it's many characters and all the problems that everyone has, including resolutions that are not always blue sky but reality. Don't miss this one!
Gretchen M. (Martinsburg, WV)
A good read
If you like a good book about mothers and daughters trying to live as responsible adults after a crazy childhood with a free spirited mother who didn't live by traditional guidelines, then you'll enjoy this book. It took me awhile to really get into it but once I did I wanted to find out how each daughter turned out. I especially liked the way the author wrote - she didn't spell everything out for the reader. You have to read between the lines and make connections for yourself.
Lee W. (Knoxville, TN)
Mating for life
I found this book delightful. It is full of strong, yet very real female characters. I enjoyed the paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter describing different animal mating habits. Those, to me, were a great tie back to the title of the book. I was fully drawn into the lives of the characters and was rooting for their problems to be resolved. The author was able to portray many different personalities smoothly and clearly. This book was a fun, engrossing story. I look forward to reading more by this author!
Gail G. (Northbrook, IL)
Mating for Life by Marissa Stapley
Does the use of the word "mating" in the title of the book tried to get people to relate to their animal-like behavior and negotiate that response to a contemporary interpretation of a "human" response.
I had no preconceived idea of animal instinct when I began to read the book but I did find characters in the book lacking in a number of ways: lack of responsibility for their weak behavior with the important people in their life and the shallowness of their character. But later when I read further into the story I began to feel that a turn-around was beginning to take place in character development by a change in their outlook.They began to allow themselves to think about interactions with family relationships and begin to have more positive and honest feed-back in these relationships as well as to understand their responsibilities as an adult.
I liked the idea of an introductory paragraph to each chapter in which an animal's behavior is tied to the character(s) entering the story at that point and their resemblance to the animal's description in the opening paragraph. This is a good idea carrier and the reader is sure to get the message. I also think the animals' introduction is part of the reason for the word "mating" in the title. This vehicle describes characters' psychology in animal terms which is a turn-about from their original orientation. It's as if they don't have a choice in their actions because they were brought up that way and it gives us a better understanding of their behavior--is it also possible that mating is more of an important meaning because people need the touch of others more than they need a slip of paper (legal contract). In the end they become true to their proclivities and responsible in an honest and mature way to their lifes' problems and experiences. That understanding is reached at novel's end.
I progressed from feeling a distaste of the characters and their behavior to a full acceptance of their final emotional state Book is certainly worthwhile reading, especially to see how the character evolution takes place. My eyes were opened wider to see how the characters fulfilled the reality of their transformation.
Sue H. (Wooster, OH)
Great summer read
I wasn't sure I was in the mood for a "romancy" book, so I began Mating for Life with some skepticism but the well-developed characters soon won me over and I spent a warm and lovely day of my beach vacation in their company. There were enough plot twists to keep me interested and I particularly enjoyed the opening epigraphs of each chapter. A great summer book. I will look for more from this author.
Deborah P. (Dunnellon, FL)
Mating for Life
Marissa Stapley's debut novel, Mating For Life, should be on every avid readers summer list and a priority for reading groups. I had to keep checking to make sure I was correct in reading that it was her first novel. The choice of subject matter and subsequent unfolding of the plot surprised, delighted and kept me reading. This novel takes a common theme of mothers and daughters and creates a family unique in their personalities and choices when it comes to love. We are then
provided a perfect vantage point to watch life begin to unfold at the annual summer cottage weekend. The reader is witness to each women arriving at her own truth after much soul searching and admissions of past mistakes. The novel's quick pace and witty dialogue will not disappoint.