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Posted April 8, 2009
Meeting Delaune Michel
Meeting Delaune Michel at her book-signing was like making a new friend. And reading her book, "The Safety of Secrets," was like making another. The story is told in present tense by a first person narrator called Fiona - and no; there is really no other way it could be told. Fiona is the reader's new friend, narrating her life story, just as it happens.
When we first meet, Fiona is just finding out that she's pregnant. Of course, the first person she tells is her best friend. We, the readers, are probably third or fourth on her list, since her husband has to be second. And we have to keep it secret because - well, she'll explain.
The trouble is, the best friend doesn't react quite how Fiona hopes. And while Fiona's telling us this, she's also saying how they met and why they're best friends. In fact, a lot of what Fiona reveals is told while telling something else. It's not confusing; it's just how she is. She gets side-tracked and wanders off in random directions, but she always leads the way back and makes her point before the end of the chapter, and she always sounds real.
I like the way the chapters are self-contained - convenient when I have to stop and walk the dog, cook dinner, or find the shirt that I forgot to wash - and natural, like conversations with a friend. I like the way the focus in each chapter is always something that's just happening, giving the story a real immediacy.
Fiona's an actress who lives and works in Hollywood. It's exciting, and it's a world I'll never know, so I feel awed to have a friend describe it to me. I forgive the tangents and diversions because it's such fun being Fiona's friend. And when I begin to suspect she's not terribly sympathetic - maybe a bit self-centered - when I begin to wonder what she's saying to her friends about me - that's when Delaune so cleverly also lets me recognize Fiona's need, and the way the words and stories are hiding secrets she hasn't yet told.
As a reader, or friend, I start to understand Fiona just as she begins to understand herself. I feel like I know what she's going through, and I want to help her out. But she'll never listen to me I know, so I read on to an end that's satisfying, true to life and true to what the reader wants for her.
I remember Delaune saying she didn't know how the novel would end when she started to write. I believe her. After all, Fiona couldn't possibly have known, and it's Fiona who's telling the tale. Nobody's pulling her strings to make things happen. But she's pregnant, and secrets have a way of forcing their way into the light at such a time.
"The Safety of Secrets" is a very believable book, an enjoyable read, a thought-provoking concept, and a tale of everyday friendship, secrets and courage. I'm glad I read it. And I'm glad I met Fiona (and Delaune).
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Posted July 9, 2008
In the same vein as Firefly Lane and Beaches, THE SAFETY OF SECRETS is a true to life story of the enduring friendship of two women. It tells how their childhood bond is tested as they mature and their values and loyalties are formed and lives change. Fiona and Patricia meet in first grade in Louisiana and their family lifestyles are different as Fiona comes from a ¿normal¿ family with two parents and a sister, while Patricia is raised by a single mother who has an older son from a previous marriage. Both of the girls¿ youth is greatly influenced by their mothers with Fiona¿s mother being abusive, while Patricia¿s mom neglects her. The girls experience a trauma young in their lives and they agree to keep it a secret for life. Fiona and Patricia grow up and both pursue acting careers, and they are both successful in their own way. However, Fiona marries and has a baby while having a moderately successful and steady television career compared to Patricia¿s wild celebrity life filled with all the bells and whistles the paparazzi is crazy for. The chapters alternate between the past as children and their current lives as adults, and thus the story slowly unfolds little by little until the ¿secret¿ that is alluded to finally is revealed. However, the way it happens is what brings us to the climax of the story and forces Fiona and Patricia to face the truth of that secret and the ramifications it has played in their lives for years. Fiona comes to realize how much the secret and her mother intertwined to make her the person she is today. Will Fiona¿s and Patricia¿s friendship be able to endure this explosive revelation? How will this affect their current relationships and especially the ones with their mothers? The Safety of Secrets is relatable and one that will have the reader taking sides and staying glued to the story until the end to find out what the secret is. The reader will want to find out what the secret does to Fiona¿s and Patricia¿s adult lives and those they now care about. I found the story to be an interesting, well written, believable tale of two women and their friendship.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
a deep character study
They met a quarter of a century ago as first graders in Lake Charles, Louisiana over a pair of socks. Fiona Marshall and Patricia Woods became friends with both eluding odious mothers. Whereas Fiona¿s mother was abusive, Patricia¿s was negligent. They left Bayou country soon after high school to make it in Hollywood.---------------- Each was married and divorced they survived the Hollywood night culture that has destroyed so many young. Both share a secret that no one else knows until now. Twenty-five years of best friend sisterhood may end with that secret revealed. Fiona and Patricia reexamine their friendship, other relationships over the years, and the difficult realities that have surfaced for them.----------------- The story line moves back and forth between the present and past in Southern California and their childhood in Louisiana as events today have the lead females looking back in time. Fiona and Patricia are fully developed characters, but it is their deep friendship forged back in elementary school that Michael DeLaune focuses on. Though loving best friends who would do anything for the other, with warmth and caring comes hurts and anger. Healthy relationships have a down side to them even when they are mostly loving, upbeat, and supportive. THE SAFETY OF SECRETS is a deep character study that will leave readers examining their strongest relationships.------------ Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.