Book Review: Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott
Origin: Browsing goodreads
Clara “Clary” Purdy is a middle-aged woman living alone in a suburban neighborhood in Canada. She leads a seemingly normal, honest life working as an insurance claims adjuster. One day, during her break hour from work, her life is changed when she causes a car accident, sending a woman to the hospital. It isn’t long before she realizes that the woman, Lorraine, and the rest of the Gage family were living out of the Dodge Dart that she crashed into.
In the hospital, Lorraine and her family are faced with a truth that they’d all been in denial about for a long time, and that’s Lorraine’s chronic illness. Lorraine was admitted to the hospital following the car accident, but she was kept there because she was diagnosed with late-stage cancer.
Clara, feeling it was the right thing to do, took in the three Gage children and their dreadful Grandmother, who had nowhere else to go, welcoming them all to her home indefinitely.
The novel strikes several chords; touching on friendships, love found in unassuming places, a struggle to understand what one’s religion means to them, and so much more. Clara questions what it actually means to “do the right thing,” and if it’s religion that is driving her, or if her intentions are a little more self-serving than she meant for them to be.
Another prevalent theme Marina Endicott focuses on are the raw emotions involved in dealing with death, the confusing job of raising children that don’t belong to us, and navigating life in general. Sometimes we don’t ask for the trying obstacles that land on our plates, but does that devalue our experiences and intentions when we do ask for them?
I enjoyed this novel! It is well-written, and the story is relatable in many ways. I find myself questioning my religious beliefs, and whether I am a good or bad person because of this. I have definitely run a few of the same thoughts through my mind that both Clara and Paul had while combing through their religious spirits.
There are many ways to cope with life-changing events, and everyone in the story experience changes in one way or another, and display their differences in how they accept the change and move forward; from Clara, a middle-aged woman, to Paul, a priest, and even from Dolly’s eye, a 9 year old with an innocent, if not slightly skewed viewpoint on life.
I think what really touched me the most, and left me thinking, is Clary’s relationship with the kids and their sickly mother, Lorraine. I found myself very conflicted between deciding what was right and what was wrong in this particular relationship triangle. Without giving away too much, this was the theme that really resonated with me the most.
I think this is a great read, and the more I talk about it, the more I liked it. I think it’s dry at times, but I feel that all of our lives ebb and flow and this is a realistic approach to the story-telling that emphasizes the rawness. The story is intelligent, and it made me think about the world around me in a different way.