Friday, December 11, 2009

Between Here and April by Deborah Copaken Kogan

The word filicide derives from the Latin word filius meaning "son". Filia in Latin also means daughter. Filicide, like incest and child abuse, is a topic so hideous that no one wants to think about it, much less read about it, which is not much of a problem, because as a society, we tend to stick our heads in the sand about such things. And although it seems every other book that’s come out in the past few years includes child abuse in the plot, they are usually glossed over pretty effectively – just enough info to get us temporarily emotionally involved, but not enough to send us lobbying to our legislators, demanding a crack-down on child rape and filicide.

OK, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll tell you about Between Here and April by Deborah Copaken Kogan, which is about filicide, marital dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, identity crisis, child neglect, rape, hormonal imbalance, psychiatric malpractice, job stress,  infidelity, pornography, postpartum depression, post traumatic stress disorder, etc., etc.

The obligatory story explanation is a journalist/mother remembers a childhood friend disappearing and decided to investigate, opening up many cans of worms. My point is though, that Between Here and April is really about a few too many things. Not to say that our lives aren’t chocked full of dysfunction and infinitely complex, but I think that this book could have been at least three books. Exploring why a mother would kill her children and herself would have been enough plot for me. And I have to admit that I loved the book, as did the members of my book club. But it just seemed like there were so many things going on that I never really got close enough to the characters.

With that said, considering the whirlwind of issues, the author did an admirable job of keeping it together, and wrote with brilliance occasionally, i.e., the filicide scene, and at the end of the book. Few authors can end a book well, often leaving us feeling like they just got tired of writing. But I loved the ending of Between Here and April. If you want to know why, you’ll just have to read it yourself. And I recommend that you do.


  1. I must share a little funny with you. One day in the teachers lounge at IHS, I asked this question, appropriate to what I don't recall: "I know that killing a parent is called patricide and killing a mother is matricide, but what do you call killing your children?" A math teacher with a dry sense of humor, answered, "Justified!" (I'll bet your children knew that math teacher!) Charlena