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The Whole Golden World Bets On...

The Whole Golden World

November 2013

I heard about THE WHOLE GOLDEN WORLD by Kristina Riggle at a librarian conference where it was pitched something like this: “A teacher is charged with having an affair with a high school student, and at the trial she chooses to sit behind the defendant in a show of solidarity instead of sitting with those who plan to prosecute him.” I heard that, and a lot of questions came to mind. This scenario had a number of ways it could be handled, and thus I wanted to look at how the author would take it on. What I found was a story well-told in three voices --- that of the girl, Morgan; her mother, Dinah; and Rain, the wife of T.J Hill, the defendant.

From their points of view, we learn about not just what happened, but also the events that led to this affair and how these lives unraveled before Morgan and T.J. came to be together. As I read, I found myself thinking about how Morgan saw herself not as a teen, but rather as someone ready to be viewed as an adult. She has lots of adolescent anger inside of her, and it is raging. She longs to be seen as someone independent while not seeing how her views are clouded and jaded by what she wants to see. Certain moments with T.J. bring forth an awakening in her. At the time, she thinks that they are just “uncomfortable,” but later she sees them as the wrongs that they were.

It reminds me that what we see in the newspaper often reads so black and white. Here we see a lot more color….and the story behind the headlines. And for those who enjoy such things, the line where the author layers the title into her prose and gives it meaning is one where a reader can say, “Ah…” Lots to discuss if you are in a book group!

The Whole Golden World
by Kristina Riggle

  • Publication Date: November 5, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062206451
  • ISBN-13: 9780062206459