Authors: Chet Raymo & Dan Raymo
Published: May 23, 2011 by Platypus Multimedia
Chattanooga uses a clever format in which each chapter is told through the eyes of a different character, and each character is an essential part of the mosaic which makes up a unique and dysfunctional household. As we weave through the story, we witness the same events through varying viewpoints, and realize just how much our rendition of things is based upon selective memory.
The characters each have a distinct, unique flavour, accentuated by differing dialects, accumulated baggage and a clearly separate way of looking at the world. The strength in the depiction of the characters is in the stark appraisal of their humanity. Some characters are more favourably portrayed than others, yet none are spared a harsh revelation of their weaknesses. But we are also witness to their strengths, no matter how frail they appear at times.
We learn that the most intricate ties are not solely based on the physical structures in which we are housed, but still carry on, even when these physical edifices are torn down, albeit differently. The ending is a simple and fitting testimony to the subtle manner in which we touch each other at times.
It is not easy interweaving the testimonies of the individual characters and maintaining the momentum of the unravelling plot, at times. Although I felt myself carried along during the first half of the book, I found that things struggled through the next few chapters, but was caught up again as things began to come together towards the end.
If you enjoy character driven plots and an unusual approach to story telling, I think this is a book you will want to read.