LISTEN by Rene Gutteridge
Marlo is normally a quiet, peaceful town. Yet recently a website has popped up called Listentoyourself and it contains residents of Marlo’s most private conversations… conversations that were held in the privacy of their homes with people they trusted. Soon accusations are flying and the local police force has its hands full trying to sort it all out.
Damien Underwood has been a journalist most of his life. He has been the creator of the Marlo Sentinal’s crossword puzzle until as of recent he has been offered a chance to do a bit of reporting as well. Damien along with his best friend Police Officer Frank Merrit are surprised by the sudden popularity of this website that is ripping the town apart.
And Damien has his own home to be concerned with as well, his wife Kay is struggling to fit in with the Cheer Mom’s, his daughter Jenna, normally sweet and easy-going has become sullen and in trouble at school for hitting another girl, his son Hunter is spending too much time in his room on the computer and Damien is concerned with what he may be looking at.
What is happening in Marlo?
This is the first Rene Gutteridge book I have experienced. A few weeks back, Hannah at Wordlily celebrated a whole week of Rene Gutteridge and I was curious….
As “the power of words” is the theme of this post, Hannah used the power of her words to influence me to give this author that I honestly do not think I have ever heard of, a try. I am so glad that I did. And now I am going to use the power of my words to tell you why.
LISTEN is a book surrounded all around the one question. How responsible are we for our words when we think no one is listening? What author Rene Gutteridge shows through this book is something I have always believed, words are powerful tools. Words can lift someone up and they can tear someone down.
In Marlo, neighbor literally turns against neighbor. While the website Listentoyourself does not mention names – the conversations written out for all to see is word for word of what was said. People are hurt, in some cases they wrongfully believe some of the writing is about them, even more so, they decide who said it and react to it.
I really enjoyed that while the website is much of this book, it is not the only storyline that Rene Gutteridge has weaved within the pages regarding the power of words. While Damien is working the website angle, his wife Kay is involved in the words that people say about each other – gossip. As she tries to fit in with the Cheer Moms and they point the finger at one mom in particular Kay becomes part of the vicious circle of spreading words that hurt. And a third story line comes in with Jenna and the mean girls (oh wow – they are MEAN) at school.
Every Monday evening I am in a small group that meets and discusses a study that we are doing and last night we touched on the subject of the power of words. I smiled as it reminded me of this book.
While the book is not without flaws, there were a couple unresolved items and I was left with a few questions, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a book I did not want to put down and enjoyed the reminder of the power of words, as well as the power of truly listening. I will most definitely read more of Rene Gutterridge.
The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map has been updated to include LISTEN
I borrowed this book from my library