Book Review: Reel Life by Jackie Townsend
By: Jackie Townsend
Reel Life, by Jackie Townsend, revolves around two sisters, Betty and Jamie who have traveled a rocky road towards finding who they are and what they mean to each other as sisters. Each chapter starts with present day, then lapses into a scenarios from their past that help explain the reasons they have made certain decisions in their lives and why they feel the way they do about each other.
Jamie lives in Thailand with her husband and fought infertility and is unable to have a child. While at the same time, her sister Betty is carrying her fourth child and has never had a problem conceiving – which she sometimes “rubs in the face” of her sister. They grew up with a mother that was basically emotionally unavailable to either of them – so Betty tries her best to thrive as a mother and be the best one she can. Jamie, unable to have children, has thrown herself into her career, which causes struggles in her marriage. Each of them have a different idea of how they grew up and the roles their parents played in how they have evolved as people.
Having 2 sisters of my own, I know the intricacies of jealousy between siblings, especially girls, but it is also a forgiving relationship. I found this book to be very honest, but at times, the line between present and past became a bit skewed. I really enjoyed the book, but it is not a light hearted read – it really makes you think about relationships. I especially loved how the author used incorporated movies into the plot of the book – hence the title of the book!
I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend!
About the Author:
Jackie Townsend, a native of southern California, spends a lot of time in places not her own. As the youngest of four siblings she carries with her a strong sense of family to these places, often foreign, and writes about belonging (or not belonging), loss, and love. She lives in New York with her husband. Reel Life is her first book.
The idea for Reel Life came to the author upon leaving a theater with her sister one evening years ago. Something was different, as if the universe had been slightly altered. Perhaps they disagreed about the film later, over drinks, or laughed about it, she doesn’t remember. Just the thought, leaving the bar, that if you could piece together all the movies the sisters had ever seen together, you could write the story of their lives.
You can visit her website, www.jackietownsend.com, to learn more about the author, read a chapter, or visit her Reel Blog, where she delves deeper into this notion of how movies and the movie going experience can impact our personal relationships.