Book Review: The Sound of Glass


Have you made yourself invisible?  I have.  But, I didn’t realize I’d made myself invisible until I read Karen White’s The Sound of Glass the second time.  I gained weight.  I no longer wear fashionable clothes or spend much time on my make-up or hair.  Subconsciously, I allowed myself to become invisible so that I would no longer be a target.

It worked.  Along the way, I embraced Iyanla Vanzant’s suggestion that I be “with myself” rather than think of myself as alone.  I have discovered that it is far better to be alone than in bad company.

Karen White in her beloved Lowcountry.
Credit: Karen White on Facebook

There’s nothing that a boat and water can’t fix,
no matter how old you are.
– Karen White, The Sound of Glass

The Sound of Glass is a tale of generations of domestic violence and family estrangement.  It is all about the strength of women who share a secret.  An inextricable link between two abused women who never met was formed on the night in July, 1955 when each became a widow.  The widows create a life-long sisterhood of silence and shame which more appropriately should have been borne by the men in their lives.

Edith Heyward is one of those women.  She lives in her husband’s ancestral home in Beaufort, SC and finds a suitcase which has fallen from a crashing airplane onto their home.  A note inside the suitcase motivates her to decamp to her attic to do forensic research about the crash.  Her hobby becomes a secret obsession.  Her infant son becomes an abusive husband and father.  Ditto for her grandson Cal.

Karen and Tim White on their wedding day.
Credit: Karen White on Facebook

You will never be truly happy
if you keep holding on to
the things that make you sad.
– Karen White, The Sound of Glass

Edith and Cal become estranged.  The reclusive Edith has no idea that he has married Merritt in Maine or that he was killed fighting a fire.  When she passes away in 2014, Merritt inherits her home and decides to relocate to South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

Merritt and Cal were both reared by their grandmothers after their mothers’ deaths.  Merritt’s mother died in a car crash, and she has become estranged from her late father, his new wife, and their son.

Karen White with her beloved dogs.
Credit: Karen White

The widow Loralee and her son Owen arrive uninvited the day Merritt gets the keys to her new home.   Owen’s father Robert was a pilot, and his mother was a stewardess.  He loves planes.

Cal’s estranged brother Gibbes, who is a pediatrician, also arrives uninvited.   He doesn’t want the house, but he is very curious about his brother’s widow.

Karen White

Although I recalled some of the delicious plot twists and secrets, it was delightful to read and review the book a second time.  There were important messages in the book which I didn’t absorb the first time I read it.

Am I ready to stop being an invisible caterpillar?  Dunno.  The butterfly is a symbol for survivors who have healed and are ready to fly. 

This review is part of a series of book reviews which I plan to publish during National DV month this year.  #WithYou

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