Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tricia Dower - Becoming Lin - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

It’s 1965. Twenty-two-year-old Linda Wise despairs of escaping her overprotective parents and the town of Stony River where far too many know she was sexually assaulted as a teenager. Deliverance arrives in the form of marriage to the charismatic, twenty-six-year-old Ronald Brunson, a newly ordained Methodist minister who ignites in her a dormant passion for social justice. He tells her war and racial discrimination are symptoms of the “moral rot” destroying the country, conjuring up something dark and rancid in her mind, thrilling in its wickedness. He sweeps her away from New Jersey to serve with him at a church in a speck-on-the-map prairie town in Minnesota. What lies ahead for her over the next seven years is the subject of Tricia Dower’s penetrating study of a marriage and a woman’s evolving sense of self as she confronts the fear that keeps her from an unfettered future. Becoming Lin conjures the turbulent era of Freedom Riders for civil rights, Vietnam war resistance, the US government’s war against the resisters, the push for equal rights for women and the unraveling of the traditional marriage contract—an era that resonates today in tenacious racism and sexism, perpetual war and wide-reaching government surveillance.

My Review

Throughout the novel, the main character, Lin, is labeled again and again as "emotionally infantile." It's how she describes herself. It's what her parents think of her. It's how her husband treats her. And it cracks me up because…really…how many adults in the world today can truly be called "emotionally mature?" I don't know where they're all hiding because I certainly don't meet that many on a day to day basis.

It's a hard knock on a character whose choices are often limited by the situations she finds herself in. Growing up, she was raised in a household where her parents put her in the middle of their bitter rivalry. Later on, as an overweight girl in a small town, she's the repeated bearer of rude comments and sly insults, and quickly comes to find "females in packs menacing." And tragically when she becomes a teenager, she's the victim of a sexual assault that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

It's no wonder that when she marries a young pastor, a guy she knows nothing about, she comes across as closed off and guarded. So what if she's not a people person? There's nothing wrong with that. But instead of following her gut and just being herself, she tries to play the role her husband and his parishioners expect her to fill.

And big surprise when it doesn't work out.

After years of trying to make a go of it, the numbness that seeps into her bones gets to be too much for her. All she owns are the thoughts in her head, and she wants something more, a lot more. So she separates from her husband, gets her own apartment, and a job with an insurance agency, and for the first time feels like she doesn't need to be rescued by anybody, that she can actually take care of herself.

Until she finds out that her husband's been having her followed and even lets himself into her apartment while she's at work in order to read her journal to see what she's been saying about him.

So what does Lin do? Does she stand up for herself? Does she go back to him? Are they able to find some common ground?

Well, you'll just have to read the book and find out.


Becoming Lin can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble
Midpoint Trade

Prices/Formats: $12.99 ebook, $22.95 paperback
Genre: Women's Fiction, Historical, Coming of Age
Pages: 240
Release: March 20, 2017
Publisher: Caitlin Press
ISBN: 9781987915075
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Tricia Dower hails from Rahway, New Jersey. You can find her on the “Rahway’s Own” website with other individuals the town has recognized for innovation and creativity. A graduate of Gettysburg College and a Phi Mu, she built a career in business before reinventing herself as a writer in 2002. Her literary work has crossed borders and won awards. She expanded a story from her Shakespeare-inspired collection, Silent Girl (Inanna 2008) into Stony River, which was published in both Canada (Penguin 2012) and the US (Leapfrog 2016). She gave a character from Stony River her own novel in Becoming Lin (Caitlin Press 2016), now available in the US.

The Vancouver Sun says, “Some of the most powerful and eloquent novelists of the 20th and 21st centuries…including Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence and Ethel up what had been cloaked in silence, the oppression of women and their self-discoveries in resistance. We can now add to this important liberation canon the name of Tricia Dower.”

A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Dower lives and writes in Brentwood Bay, BC.

Links to connect with Tricia:
Web Site

About the Giveaway

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  1. I do want to know how Linda fares. Sounds like quite an emotional journey.

    1. Thanks, Mary. Hope you'll get a chance to read it.

  2. Thanks for reading and reviewing Becoming Lin!