The Map to True Places by Brunonia Barry

I picked this up at one of my Half-price books stops. I always try to drive by but I seriously feel a physical pull from the books. I had no idea what to expect from this book but I liked the title. I learned the title comes from a Herman Melville quote.

“It is not down on any map; true places never are.”

Zee, short for Hepzibah, is a Phd therapist working in Boston for one of the media darlings, Dr. Mattei. Zee struggles with her own past. She had a troubled childhood. Her mother suffered from severe manic depression bipolar illness and never could be the mother a child needed. When she about 13 her mother commits suicide and that is a catalyst for Zee and all the decisions she makes from then on.

Her father’s friend, nicknamed Melville, moves in with them. At a time same-sex relationships were still not accepted  and it took Zee a while to realize their relationship is more than friendship.

A difficult engagement, a patient that commits suicide, a father declining into Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s forces Zee to return to Salem. It is here she begins to question her own life decisions. The intrigue is heightened when Zee finds and reads her mother’s unfinished fairy tale of perfect love. Is Zee the woman in the story or is it her mother as she has always believed? Has she made choices based on what she wants or on what other people want? And thus begins her journey down a new path that twists and turns and crosses over into her past.

Don’t we all wonder if we have made our life choices based on what we want or based on what is acceptable? Do we stay in bad marriages because our family would be disappointed if divorced? Do we pursue a career because everyone in the family walks that path? Do never move away because we are afraid of the unknown?

I liked this book a lot. I currently am trying to find a new path, a new map to my own true place. It’s a definite read.


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