THE NINE: A NOVEL
Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg
She Writes Press (2019)
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (11/19)
“The Nine: A Novel” by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg is the story of love and trying to fit in. What mother wouldn’t do anything she could for her child, especially when they are an only child? What if it was difficult to get pregnant with your rainbow baby, and you inadvertently make your child the center of your life?
For Hannah, she is and has been dealing with these issues with her now teenage son, Sam. Finishing middle school, it is now time to contemplate his high school years. Although not quite in the wealth bracket to comfortably afford a boarding school, Hannah will accept nothing less than the best for her one and only beloved son. With that decision made, Sam is off to Dunning, a co-ed private high school. As with everything, first glances can be deceiving. To the outsider, Dunning is a sight for sore eyes, with faculty who erase every worry from the anxious mothers who are stressed about leaving their child behind, and the list of alumni to make any school jealous. Once the school year begins, it’s fair game for every contestant participating on and in the Dunning playing field. Physical and mental demands are high, with great expectations made for everyone. Sam successfully makes it through his first year at Dunning, and then he discovers a secret that will forever alter his life and the lives of his family and everyone involved.
Beautifully written, “The Nine” encompasses so many different areas of life. Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg explores the complicated feelings that surface the moment you become a mother, and how they can intensify as your child gets older. She explores the rituals involved with growing up as a teenager and the trials one will most likely face, with some extra, rarer situations thrown in for added drama. She explores the family dynamic, and how they differ between families in different stages of life.
The subject matter is one that is being dealt with in our current society and becoming more prevalent throughout the years with movements such as #MeToo gaining popularity. Jeanne writes inclusively, so that men, women, and children can all relate to the characters. Not having any experience in boarding schools, I found “The Nine: A Novel” by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg fascinating and very believable about the dirty, self-centered secrets that these schools may hold, unbeknownst to so many.
Highly recommended reading!