Review: The Map of True Places

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry

Publisher: William Morrow (May 4, 2010)


Source: Goodreads Giveaway

From the cover:

Zee Finch has come a long way from a motherless childhood spent stealing boats—a talent that earned her the nickname Trouble. She’s now a respected psychotherapist working with the world-famous Dr. Liz Mattei. She’s also about to marry one of Boston’s most eligible bachelors. But the suicide of Zee’s patient Lilly Braedon throws Zee into emotional chaos and takes her back to places she thought she’d left behind.

What starts as a brief visit home to Salem after Lilly’s funeral becomes the beginning of a larger journey for Zee. Her father, Finch, long ago diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, has been hiding how sick he really is. His longtime companion, Melville, has moved out, and it now falls to Zee to help her father through this difficult time. Their relationship, marked by half-truths and the untimely death of her mother, is strained and awkward.

Overwhelmed by her new role, and uncertain about her future, Zee destroys the existing map of her life and begins a new journey, one that will take her not only into her future but into her past as well. Like the sailors of old Salem who navigated by looking at the stars, Zee has to learn to find her way through uncharted waters to the place she will ultimately call home.

This was the first book I’ve read from Barry and I loved it! I’ve added The Lace Reader (Barry’s previous book) onto my wish list and I can’t wait to get my hands on the book.

After finishing the book I was surprised by how much was covered within 400 pages. When I first picked up the book I thought it was going to be a simple story about Zee figuring out what she wants from life as well as figuring out who she is. And it was about that. But it was so much more than that. It wasn’t just her story, but it was also Finch’s and her mother with her fairy tale stories; it was about Melville and Lilly too. I loved how all the stories integrated with one another and fitted together so well.

The book is interlaced with stories from the past, which at times make the book drag a bit, but it also provides the readers with a nice background story on the characters and it gives the readers a chance to get to know the characters and relate to them. One of the things I really enjoyed about the book was how realistic Zee was and how easy it was to relate to her. Even though I haven’t gone through the same experiences she went through, I still saw myself relating to her and questioning certain aspects of my own life.

I admit that there are some parts of the book that are slow and if you pick it up and find yourself feeling that the book is dragging a bit, my advice to you would be to stick with it! The last hundred pages or so picks up quite nicely and the ending is so worth it and you don’t want to miss out on it.

[ purchase from amazon ] [ visit the author ]


Posted on May 18, 2010, in 4.5 stars, book reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Sounds like a really different, interesting book — and I love stories about complicated families! (And isn’t every family complicated?) I’ve never read anything by Barry but definitely want to grab this one, as well as The Lace Reader… I’ve heard such good things about both!

    • Hahah. Too true! I guess that’s why its so easy to relate to them. I heard The Lace Reader was even better than this one so I can’t wait to get it. The next time I go to a bookstore I’m going to end up clearing them out with the book list I have!

  2. Sounds good to me! I really want to read this one!

  3. Just added this to my TBR list–thanks for sharing!

  4. glad you enjoyed this one. i listened the audio version of the lace reader late last year at a blogger’s recommendation and enjoyed it. i didn’t even realize barry had a new book out! thanks for the tip and review. 🙂

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