Rachel Carr
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Reading Rendezvous: Sylvan Street by Deborah Schupack


Graphics by Indie

Graphics by Indie

As I began Sylvan Street by Deborah Schupack I was quickly immersed into the mundane suburban life. Imagine living at the end of a cul de sac, rife with secrets and knowledge. Now amplify that when at a pool party the inhabitants find a briefcase worth a million dollars. Feeling like you are in a thriller or action movie yet? Just wait. The families gather every summer for the opening of a neighbor’s pool and stuck between the hedges and the pool shed is a million dollars. Who would have thought that right? As the neighbors discuss what to do with the money Keith Margolise- a cop- is the first to exclaim that they should submit the money to the police. In the little section of suburbia each family is thrust to answer their own intriguing questions about not only their morals but also justice. Following the direction of the street’s math teacher, an equation is drawn out in order to determine how much money each family will receive. Money is doled out at a base level, plus family members (children are worth half). This is good for the Margolises’ who have a big family and not so good for Ash who foolishly purchased his home on a whim to surprise his now ex-girlfriend.

As each family carries their portion of the money home- in trash bags- they begin calculating how to spend the money. Yet there is a caveat to their plan, no one is allowed to spend frivolously which could not only attract attention but others knowledge. As if, right?! Against his prior thoughts the immature and inexperienced Margolises are the first to transgress and purchase a Porsche and a new pool. However, we all know that money complicates everything and no individual is secure when there is money being tossed around so frivolously. As the money takes ‘permanent residence’ in each family’s house so does trouble. Amongst the problems are revealed and hidden secrets, adultery, illicit relationships, friendships pushed to the edge, and lives changed forever. Winding itself through the story is the description of the ‘money’ and how it is mismanaged and lost by the original owners. As I read each families story I cannot help but feel sorry for each of the families. Here is a look at a few of the complicated situations: a town cop who is burdened with five children and barely enough to cover their costs, an elderly couple who yearn for their children to be closer and eventually succumb to hardships of their own, a barren couple who has tried for over six years to have a child to no avail, and of course the token new couple on the block.

When I began this new novel I was hesitant, I normally do not enjoy thrillers, yet I’ll admit I was intrigued. As I was reading I thought that there was a definite opportunity for improvement as many times I found myself lost in thoughts and questions for the author- maybe this is stereotypical for a thriller. Primarily with the large cast of characters -who were not appropriately introduced at the start of the novel- it was hard to keep track of who was described. At times I felt the language was evasive and overwhelming. This to me was the only flaw, with a more appropriate introduction to the scene and characters I would have thoroughly enjoyed this novel. However, overall when considering the plot and construction of the novel, it was not only interesting but also thrilling. As a reader I began to hope for the characters and that they were able achieve their goals rather than succumb to the terrors that money brings. When you begin this novel take into account that this novel is modeled after the thrillers that came before it.

This novel is available at Amazon

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