Reviewed by Aaron Lazar
The War of the Roses – The Children
by Warren Adler
Kindle eBook: $7.69, ASIN: B00BSYIJX2, Trade Paperback: $14.55, ISBN-10: 1590061128, ISBN-13: 978-1590061121
Author’s website: http://warrenadler.com
The War of the Roses – The Children, by Warren Adler provides an intimate glimpse inside the fragile lives of the surviving children of the original blockbuster book/movie, War of the Roses, an iconic story that resonated across the globe for decades with an international audience.
When the marriage of Barbara and Jonathan Rose disintegrated, it launched a sequence of events leading to their ultimate demise, which left their two children alone. Although this story was told with savvy noir humor which appealed to many, its darker themes also rang true with scores of couples dealing with or about to delve into the complicated world of divorce.
In this intriguing sequel, poor little Josh and Evie were raised by loving grandparents, but the effects of exposure to parental violent screaming matches and obsessions over property destruction for spite marked these kids as damaged.
Often the consequences of divorce and parental discord are intangible, lingering and festering for years to come in the children’s hearts and minds, and frequently such past events can ruin the next generation’s marriages. Mr. Adler’s treatment of this very serious situation is handled tastefully, and in spite of the nature of the subject, he manages to inject some delicious humor into this sequel.
As always in a Warren Adler book, the writing goes down like a cool mint frappe, smooth and delectable. Mr. Adler’s dialog is natural and on target, and progressive scenes draw the reader forward in a rush to reach resolution. His characters come alive on the page and reveal human foibles. Infidelity and dishonesty run rampant in this story, and the length to which a headstrong mother goes to protect her son is rather alarming.
After the first few chapters, readers will feel as if they know these characters, not only recognizing common human frailties in them, but relating to and caring about them.
Josh Rose, son of Barbara and Jonathan Rose, is now a married adult with his own two children, Michael and Emily. His human failings are severe, and although on the surface of his marriage it seems all is golden, we discover there is a quagmire hiding beneath. The dichotomy between the verbalized philosophies of their family versus reality is striking.
Evie Rose, surviving daughter of Barbara and Jonathan, has tumbled in and out of relationships and finds her best friend to be mini-epicurean adventures. A talented cook with no acknowledgement of healthy eating, she whips up fattening, luscious meals to both soothe tears and comfort breaking hearts. Evie relates food to joy, to love, to happiness (don’t we all?). And her upbeat attitude, regardless of her flagrant disregard for healthy eating, is contagious. Evie was unquestionably this reviewer’s favorite character.
Tension simmers between Victoria, Josh’s health-nut OCD wife, and the sweet, foodaholic Evie. Josh is torn between them, yet although he is mindful of his wife’s desires regarding the kids and what they eat, he harbors great love for his sister. Fiercely loyal to her, this allegiance drives a wedge between the family. Subterfuge becomes the norm.
In the end, the grandchildren of Barbara and Jonathan Rose are the instigating factors of changes needed and changes to come. Brilliantly planned, they turn life upside down to force healing in their parents’ relationship.
War of the Roses – The Children is highly recommended as a fascinating look at psychology and family with a tongue-in-cheek flavor that will make readers chuckle and smile. Question – will there be a sequel to the sequel? Perhaps Mr. Adler will consider it.
Recommended for adults only by Aaron Paul Lazar, www.lazarbooks.com.