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Bohjalian, Chris. Before You Know Kindness.

BOHJALIAN, Chris. Before you know kindness. Random House, Vintage. 429p. c2004. 14000-3165-6. $13.95. SA

Spenser McCullough--animal rights activist, father, husband, son--is accidentally shot with his brother-in-law's rifle by his teenage daughter on the first pages of this novel. The reverberations of that rifle shot make up the plot of the novel and the members of his family and his associates at his workplace fill out the character list. Everyone takes a turn being analyzed and fleshed out as the author looks at the social issues of animal rights and the legal issues connected with them, and, more importantly, at the family relationships that are altered when a disaster, especially one fraught with so much philosophical baggage, occurs. Bohjalian is a modern master at looking at families under stress and has used the familiar pattern of something unexpected happening to good people that causes them to reconsider their beliefs and their relationships. In this novel, he does it again. His writing style is not difficult, but the questions he raises are and will elicit much discussion among readers. Since the most sensible character is Willow, the youngest character in the novel, mature young readers will easily relate and may learn something about unintended consequences of rash acts. Nola Theiss, Sanibel, FL
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Author:Theiss, Nola
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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