“Others can make us vulnerable and the sooner such vulnerabilities are dealt with the better”
It’s been a week since I finished Serena, and I’m still not sure how to talk about it. The basics: it’s set in the 192os; Serena and George Pemberton, recently wed, have moved to a logging camp in North Carolina to make their fortune. Right from the start, the Pembertons encounter trouble when a woman named Rachel and her father confront George at the train station: George got Rachel pregnant the last time he was in town, before he met Serena. George kills Rachel’s father, and Serena runs Rachel off.
Serena immediately proves herself to be different from the average 1920s wife. She’s deeply involved in George’s financial and business decisions, and struts around the camp wearing pants and riding horses. She’s kind of a bad ass. She and George share a passionate, intense love for each other.
What made this book difficult for me is how much my sympathies changed throughout the course of the book (on that note: DON’T READ THE BACK OF THE BOOK IT SPOILS THE WHOLE DAMN THING). But I think that’s really a good thing: I think it shows the strength of the writing that Rash can take the reader on such a journey. I had to continually re-evaluate my feelings for each of the main characters: George, Serena, Rachel.
One thing I HATED: Rash uses a group of loggers as a kind of Greek chorus — they provide exposition about the camp as they gossip about the Pembertons. I could not stand these guys. BEYOND annoying, especially since all of the other characters were handled so deftly.