After eighteen novels and eight children’s books one might think Alice Hoffman would run out of material in which to write, but her new book, Skylight Confessions, proves this theory wrong. She takes an everyday, dysfunctional family and breathes her own twist into it, coupled with a splash of supernatural.
Skylight Confessions is set in a house appropriately named The Glass Slipper because it is constructed of metal and glass panes. This metaphor of a glass is what gives this novel substance and allows the readers to watch this family from a safe distance. Arlyn Singer is a beautiful redheaded seventeen-year-old with seventy-six freckles on her face, who plants herself on the stoop of her father’s house on the eve of his funeral. She promises the next man who appears will be the man she marries. So begins the turbulent relationship between John Moody and Arlyn.
Arlyn was an optimist, who saw life in a much different way than John. “She was young enough not to see a glass as half empty or half full, but as a beautiful object into which anything might be poured.” With this beautiful language, which often resembles music, Alice Hoffman tells this story of pain, deceit, betrayal and death. Her use of mystical and supernatural experiences in her novels has brought much interest to her work. She does not fail the reader in this novel.
As the reader moves through this world of broken glass, stones and secret, winged men from Connecticut, they find an endearment to Sam, Arlyn and John’s son, who is charging down a road to annihilation. Life stories are never as simple as the telling, and this book brings this to the forefront of the reader’s mind. One tiny forgotten fragment can change one’s whole life.
The use of symbols - whether intentional or just plain, good writing - is strong and will leave the reader viewing things like soot, blackbirds, pearls and shattered china in a new light. I strongly recommend this book be added to summer reading lists. This reader loved it so much she read it twice.