House Arrest: Book summary and reviews of House Arrest by Ellen Meeropol

House Arrest

by Ellen Meeropol

House Arrest by Ellen Meeropol X
House Arrest by Ellen Meeropol
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2011
    216 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Home-care nurse Emily Klein can't get out of her new assignment – weekly prenatal visits to Pippa Glenning, a young Isis cult member under house arrest for the death of her daughter during a Solstice ceremony. But she takes her work seriously and plays by the rules, so Emily is determined to take good care of her high-profile and unconventional patient.

With two other cult members in prison, Pippa Glenning struggles to keep the household intact. If she follows the rules of her house arrest, she may be allowed to keep her baby; but as the pregnant woman in the family it's her duty to dance for Isis at the upcoming winter Solstice ceremony. To escape the house arrest without being caught, Pippa needs Emily’s help.

Despite their differences, Emily and Pippa's friendship grows. Returning to Maine for her grandfather's funeral, Emily begins to grapple with her parents' activism a generation earlier and her father’s death in prison. Back home, as the Solstice and the trial approach, anti-cult and racist sentiment in the city escalates. Emily and Pippa must each make decisions about their conflicting responsibilities to their families and to each other – decisions that put their lives, and Pippa's unborn baby – in jeopardy.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Meeropol's work is thoughtful and tightly composed, unflinching in taking on challenging subjects and deliberating uneasy ethical conundrums." - Publishers Weekly

"Although this first novel has awkward moments and telegraphs its ending, fans of Jodi Picoult's ethics-heavy suspense may find it a suitable readalike." - Library Journal

"What drives Ellen Meeropol's compelling debut is an essential moral question about what a family sacrifices when a parent lives according to higher political ideals. What keeps you reading are Meeropol's astutely observed diverse cast of characters who draw you into their dilemmas, their world, and most importantly their heartaches." - Heidi W. Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

"In this suspenseful, richly plotted novel, Ellen Meeropol explores the moral complexities of politics and medicine as they intersect with the private sphere of family. She is acutely sensitive to the nuances of long-suppressed sorrow and regret; with equal insight, she successfully immerses the reader in a wide range of characters. House Arrest is smart, provocative, and moving." - Julia Glass, author of Three Junes and The Widower's Tale

The information about House Arrest shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Angel

Puhlease
First of all, I have read first year, creative writing, undergrads who have made better attempts than this drivel masquerading as a novel. The story line was absolutely ridiculous, and it made no sense, and the characters were boring and undeveloped.

There is a "cult" and the members are being persecuted. A cult member is on house arrest because of her alleged involvement in the death of her children during a cult ritual. There is a home nurse assigned to this woman for her pre-natal care who becomes so enthralled with her that she wants to help her escape house arrest for just one night so that she can attend an important cult ritual. Sounds compelling, right? WRONG.

First of all, the characters in the novel are not well shaped and not very interesting. You have a woman who is supposedly from the south, who witnessed some sort of KKK rally and a racial killing which drives her to run away and become a prostitute before joining this cult. All of this takes place in the late 1990s to current day. Notice, I wrote 1990s not 1890s. Really? A KKK rally and killing? In 1999?.... PUHLEASSSE! Has this author ever been to the south? Such stereotypes are so cliché and insulting. BORING!

There is a second and third character who make very brief appearances, even though one of these characters is supposed to the "cult leader." These two men are supposed to be from opposing gangs from the mean streets of Newark (yawn), who decide to "come together" and start anew by forming this cult who worships the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis. Believable, right? Hahahaha! Has the author ever met a gang member? Has she ever even watched a cop show on tv?? I'm willing to bet my next pay check that the answer is NO.

Also, (this one is particularly nonsensical), the cult leader is in jail awaiting trial for the death of his children. While in jail, he makes friends with a sympathetic guard. The guard allows him to "escape" the jail to go to a cult gathering, only to arrange to trap him there and have him arrested again. WHAT???? WHY??? He was in jail already, why pretend to be his friend so he can escape so you can arrest him again. This was sooooo irritatingly stupid! I can see some hardened guard in Rikers becoming "friendly" with a cult leader so he can set him up later on for escaping. What the hell is the point??

Lastly, there is this nurse who for some unknown reason becomes so bloody interested in one of the characters (A side note here- The characters are so undeveloped as to have no interest to the reader at all. I can hardly believe that they would be interested in each other in this fantasy land) that she wants to help her escape house arrest long enough to dance in this stupid winter solstice ritual. For God's sake, how lame.

Please, save your money and your time. This book is terrible and is quite insulting for those of us who have traveled a greater distance than our laptops. I suggest the writer write about something she knows instead of these silly empty, stereotyped riddled, cliches that she calls novels.

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More Information

A literary late bloomer, Ellen Meeropol began writing fiction in her fifties when she was working as a nurse practitioner in a pediatric hospital. Since leaving her nursing practice in 2005, Ellen has worked as the publicist and book group coordinator for an independent bookstore and taught fiction workshops. She is a founding member of the Rosenberg Fund for Children and author of the script for their dramatic program "Celebrate," which has been produced in four cities, most recently in 2007 starring Eve Ensler, David Strathairn and Angela Davis. Drawing material from her twin passions of medical ethics and political activism, her fiction explores characters at the intersection of political turmoil and family life.

Ellen holds an MFA in creative writing from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine. Her stories have appeared in Bridges, Portland Magazine, Pedestal, Patchwork Journal, and The Women’s Times. House Arrest is her first novel. She lives in Western Massachusetts.

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