Thursday, March 10, 2011

See What I See by Gloria Whelan

Book Summery:
Kate Tapert sees her life in paintings. She makes sense of the world around her by relating it to what she adores—art. Armed with a suitcase, some canvases, and a scholarship to art school in Detroit, Kate is ready to leave home and fully immerse herself in painting. Sounds like heaven. All Kate needs is a place to stay.
That place is the home of her father, famous and reclusive artist Dalton Quinn, a father she hasn't seen or heard from in nearly ten years. When Kate knocks on his door out of the blue, little does she realize what a life-altering move that will turn out to be. But Kate has a dream, and she will work her way into Dalton's life, into his mind, into his heart . . . whether he likes it or not.
Book Review:
I stumbled across a review of this a week or two ago, and the premise sounded really interesting. Unfortunately, none of the bookstores in my area carried it. The other day, Rich and I went to a local bookstore, and I found two copies sitting on the shelf. I literally squealed with joy and promptly snatched one off the shelf for myself. Needless to say, my preempted joy was not in vain! Rich went to scour the music section, and I quickly became enveloped in the story. I had not intended to purchase anything, but I couldn't set the book down. So I paid for my purchase and settled in for a powering story of a girl who has incredible inner strength, insight, and understands that sometimes there's a bigger picture other than ourselves.

There are several things that I loved about this book. First of all, the setting, Detroit, Michigan! Now, most of you know that I live in Michigan. It just isn't a common setting for a book, so when I find one, I get very, very excited! :) I'll admit, I've only been to Detroit twice, and only selected areas. Therefore, I've included some photos that I used as a guide to give me a better picture of the landscape. The city actually has quite a large part in the story. Secondly, I loved the main character, Kate. She had such inner strength, understanding, and patience that I NEVER would of had at her age. This story is really about her journey. Third, I adored that the main focus of the story was art. Now, some people will say it was Kate's relationship with her dad, but I think even that centered mostly around art. I just loved all the various artistic flair that was heavily peppered among the pages. Fourth, I love the use of medicine in this novel. I felt that the storyline of Kate's father and his illness enhanced the overall plot. I currently work as a nurse, but I was an aide for 5 years prior to nursing school, and took care of many patients just like Dalton. I felt that Whelan did a great job describing Dalton as his illness progressed. Very realistic and nicely incorporated into the story. *I will warn you, if you haven't known or taken care of someone who at their end of life, this might be a difficult concept of the story for you.*

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much. So much, that I read it all in one day. I had originally given it a 4 star rating, but while I was writing this review, I realized that I savored this book more than I initially thought. My only complaint is that I felt that the beginning of the story was a bit rushed. However, looking back, I can appreciate that it gave a foundation to story, but it wasn't the pivotal portion of the novel. Whelan focused more on the essential storyline, and that's what's important. I adored this book, and highly recommend it. Just remember, it covers some tough topics that aren't glossed over.

Favorite Quote:
"I guess I have death on my mind, because when I see an ancient cemetery in the middle of the city, I drive in. The marble angels wear coats of snow. There are big, old trees and a few containers with flowers that have wilted in the cold wind. I recognize the names of old Detroit families on the tombstones: Brush, Canfield, Cass. They're street names now. The cemetery is not sad. It's restful, as if death were a nap you steal in the middle of the afternoon." (p. 156-157)

Cover Art Commentary:
Love the contrasting colors. I also like that you can't see the character's face, leaving you to picture her however you like. The way I picture a character usually contrasts with the image of them on the cover. :P

Overall Rating:


  1. A five star from Lily and its in Michigan...well than I must read it...:D

    Have you checked out Literary Life, its a little Indie bookstore downtown GR- I think its on Wealthy- very cute in there!!

  2. I think this is the second review I read for this book and I really want a copy now! It's always better when you see a book you never expected to find. ;)

  3. I really enjoyed all of the extra bonus city photos that you added with this review. :) I have not heard of this one either. I'm def keeping this one in my radar!

    Mad Scientist

  4. I hadn't heard too much about this book befor now. Your rave review make me want to read this now.

  5. Awesome review. The pictures were a lovely touch.