Title: Deep Down True
Author: Juliette Fay
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Dana Stellgarten’s main personality characteristic is that she is nice. Even through her divorce, she was always a nice person. But now, her temper is starting to get the better of her. Her two kids still haven’t fully accepted their father’s decision to leave, and Dana’s daughter is having trouble navigating the treacherous social waters of sixth grade. Money is becoming more and more of an issue, as Dana chose to be a stay-at-home mom once her kids were born. In the end, Dana has to look deep within herself, rather than at those around her, to discover what she wants out of life and how lucky she is.
I enjoyed Juliette Fay’s first novel Shelter Me, so when I received her second novel for review, I was excited to read it. Dana Stellgarten is certainly an interesting main character. She is unfailingly nice when the novel begins, trying to be the best she can to everyone around her. But as things get more difficult, her temper begins to flare and Dana realizes that sometimes, you have to be strong and stand your ground rather than trying to just be nice to others. She certainly is a realistic character, and I appreciated how much she grew over the course of the novel.
Deep Down True dealt with a lot of contemporary issues that will ring true for anyone reading. One of the most interesting is Dana’s realization that, in some ways, women never really leave high school. There’s always going to be the popular people, the queen bee, and the desire to be liked. I enjoyed watching Dana deal with this unpalatable information and the way she chose to respond to it.
The novel also deals with other issues, including eating disorders (an especially difficult problem) and the effects of divorce on children. Fay does an excellent job incorporating these important discussion points into the story and treats them very realistically. In fact, that is a word that perfectly describes this entire book - realistic. From the characters to the situations, I was surprised at how much everything in this book really rang true.
I enjoyed Deep Down True and think it would make an excellent book club pick. It’s easy to read and would appeal to a variety of readers, and I think different people would get different things out of it. I’m glad it lived up to my expectations after Shelter Me and I can’t wait to see what Fay comes up with next.