Book Review: Stiltsville

StiltsvilleStiltsville by Susanna Daniel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s hard for me to say whether I loved this book because of its many parallels to my life or because of the story itself or a combination of the two.

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This is me and my dad on the lower deck at the Red House. Good times!

Like the main character’s daughter Margo, I spent many weekends and summer days at the Red House in Stiltsville as a kid in the 1970s and a bit into the 1980s and some of my favorite memories were made there. The author spent time at the same house and her description of the house in the book made it feel like I was walking through my memory. Everything from the wood paneling and kitschy interior to the double bunk beds and wide porches was just how it was. The eel was real too.

I grew up in Miami during the Mariel boat lift and the race riots in the late 70s and early 80s and watched Miami go from a place where you could sleep with your windows open and doors unlocked to a place on edge.

Like Margo, I was also at the University of Florida during the student murders in 1990 and came home from school to help my family in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Aside from my personal connection to the story, I thought it was a beautifully written study of the life of a marriage and a family. And yes, although very few books have made me cry, I did shed a few tears at the end. I also hugged my sleeping husband a little closer when I finished the book and turned off the light.

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