Let's talk books: 'A Whistling Woman' by Louise Shivers

Editor's note: Book club readers and local author Louise Shivers will meet Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m., at Friedman Branch Library to discuss "A Whistling Woman," Ms. Shivers' second novel. Leading up to the meeting, Chronicle staff writer Sarah Day Owen, outreach librarian Sherryl James and others are trading observations online about the book.

Their exchange will continue on this page in coming days, and readers are invited to post their own thoughts.

From: Sarah Day Owen
Dec. 2, 2009 10:47 PM

Here's what I thought:

I've found people are more familiar with Ms. Shivers' first novel, Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail, which I read before reading this book.

I liked A Whistling Woman more.

Though Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail has a deeper, more defined (and probably better written) voice in narrator Roxy, A Whistling Woman's Georgeanna is a more interesting character. As a reader, I found I could feel more for Georgeanna and her family than I did Roxy.

The mother, Chaney, is a selfless woman who wishes to save her daughter from the hardships she herself faced from earlier mistakes. Her secrets, which eventually weigh so heavy it pushes her to mental illness, are buried to spare her family.

Chaney is the driving force in this novel.

How do you compare the main characters in Ms. Shiver's two books? Georgeanna's voice?

What was your take on Chaney?

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