Title: Sleepwalking in Daylight
Author: Elizabeth Flock
Published: February 24, 2009
Page Count: 368
Genre: Women’s Fiction
My Rating: 4.5/5
Once defined by her career and independence, stay-at-home mom Samantha Friedman finds that her days have been reduced to errands, car pools and suburban gossip. What was an easy decision for Sam years ago has become a nagging awareness that this life was her choice. Now she deals with a husband who shows up for dinner but is too preoccupied for conversation, and a daughter swathed in black clothing and Goth makeup who won’t talk at all.
Believing she’s an adopted mistake, seventeen-year-old Cammy has fallen into sex and drugs and pours herself into a journal filled with poetry and pain. On parallel paths, mother and daughter indulge in desperate, furtive escapism—for Sam, a heady affair with her supposed soul mate, fueled by clandestine coffee dates and the desire to feel something; for Cammy, a secretive search for her birth mother punctuated by pills, pot and the need to feel absolutely nothing.
I have had two great experiences with Elizabeth Flock novels; I read and enjoyed both Me & Emma and But Inside I’m Screaming (both pre-blogging days). Yet somehow the fact that she recently published this one completely escaped me – that is, until I saw it on the new releases shelf at the library. Obviously, I grabbed it up and read the book as soon as I returned home that afternoon.
I was not at all disappointed with Sleepwalking in Daylight. In fact, I can easily say that this is my favorite Elizabeth Flock novel so far. This is definitely more of a character-driven novel, with the plot running alongside slightly in the background. What drew me into this book so quickly was how well Flock crafted these two characters. I was blown away by how distinctive and authentic Sam and Cammy were. It was almost hard for me to believe that the same author wrote both of them. What I loved about the way they were written was how well I sympathized with both of them – especially considering they had less-than-great things to say about one another. Basically, this is what would happen while I was reading the book: Sam would talk about how difficult a time she was having with Cammy, how impossible it was to reach her daughter, and I would feel her pain and just hope for them to reconcile. But then Cammy would go on about how her mother doesn’t understand her, how depressing everything in her life is, and how she feels like nobody really cares about what happens to her, and my heart would just break for what she was going through. Even though I knew Sam was doing everything she could to reach Cammy, and from Sam’s point of view Cammy was just pulling away from her. See? I totally got both women – I think it’s amazing that Flock was able to accomplish this.
I cannot talk about the plot of this novel in too much detail because there was a huge thing at the end that I was totally unprepared for, and I want anyone who reads the book to be equally as stunned as I was. However, I will say that I think Flock did a stunning job helping the reader slowly understand and unravel where this story was going. Basically the entire book is a terrible snowball – it starts off innocently enough, and then a few issues are revealed that make you think things are not going to turn out well for this family, and you actually read on the pages everything getting worse and worse until really, it can only get better. You know it has to get better, this family has to figure it out and mke things work. But will they? I’m not telling. 😉
I loved this book. I don’t know what else to say – I thought it was beautiful, wonderfully written, and simply heartbreaking.