Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle
Now imagine that you are in a courtroom. The crime? A young high school teacher is on trial for sexual crimes against a teenager. Your teenager, your bright golden girl. Now imagine she walks into the courtroom and instead of sitting with you and your husband, marches over and sits behind the defendant, showing the entire court that she is on his side, and that she insists they are in love. He insists that it never happened, that your daughter had a wildly inappropriate crush on him and made advances but that he never responded.
This is the nightmare that Kristina Riggle serves up in The Whole Golden World. She explores the feelings of all affected. Seventeen-year-old Morgan Monetti is determined to stand by the man the world thinks has ruined her life. The family must move from a typical life with friendships in a small town taken for granted, to a life where whispers and comments about them are the norm. The family of the teacher, TJ Hill, are also affected, so embarrassed and shamed that they want to disappear. Except for his wife, Rain, who also believes in him and is determined to stand by him.
Readers of family dramas and parents will find this novel riveting. As much as one wants to believe it could never happen to them, Riggle makes it plain that it could happen to anyone when circumstances line up perfectly for disaster. Morgan feels neglected in her family, looked over in favor of her brothers. TJ is struggling in his first year of teaching calculus and as his marriage is strained by everyday events, looks elsewhere for validation. His wife is determined to make her marriage work and have the family she always dreamed of. All must look inside themselves to discover what led to this place and how to move on from it. This book is recommended for those interested in family dynamics and how to survive a tragedy.