Wednesday, October 17, 2018
His Favorites, somehow keeps anger about recollection of childhood sexual abuse at a boil while the tone of the telling the story stays cool and calm. Protagonist Jo Hadley’s life changed at age fifteen after her best friend died in an accident that everyone views as Jo’s fault. She leaves her Maryland home to board at a prestigious prep school where her vulnerability is noted by a sexual predator. Master Aikens, her thirty-four-year old English professor selects Jo as his latest “favorite” and manipulates her into a sexual relationship. This novel switches between her recollections of high school from a future time back and forth to that formative year. Memories and descriptions begin to be formed, then Walbert switches time periods to focus on rounding out the story. We understand Jo’s vulnerability and see the effect of this formative experience on her life, while Master remains a shadow figure: recalled in part, but never quite a complete character. Master is limited to Jo’s recollection of his acts, and that is perfect for this novel which is Jo’s story, not Master’s. Fans of literary fiction are those readers most likely to enjoy this well-crafted novel, as are those readers who are looking for fiction to find a way to tell a #MeToo story and talk to others about the experiences of women. The right book club will find plenty to discuss about this book. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase His Favorites from amazon.com.