L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón

It is a common device in literature to use the weather as a character and plot driver allowing us to focus on the effect it has on human lives and that is exactly what the L.A. weather does in this book.

Oscar, husband of Keila and father of Claudia, Olivia and Patricia, secretly bought an almond farm and is waiting for the rain which means that the trees will survive. But California is in the grip of a five-year long drought and he withdraws into himself and watches the weather forecasts.

As a result of this, his wife wants to divorce him but is bullied by her children into giving it a year to try and recover what they had. Whilst this is happening, all three of the daughters divorce for different reasons and move back home and of course eventually the rains come but by then it is too late for the almond trees.

So, what weather does L.A. have? Most things you read tell of the relentless sunny days with a very consistent temperature so you always know what it is going to be. There is also the Santa Ana winds that bring devestation and destruction, bringing down a tree that almost lands on their house just as a reminder of the fleeting nature of life and how easily it can be taken away. And, all of this just before Keila announces that she has found a lump in her breast.

This is a story about family and love but I couldn’t help feeling that it was a smothering type of love where really all the mother wants is all of her children back home (and that is what she got) but really they should all be living independently and having their own lives. At the end of this book, all other men apart from their father had been excluded and it felt a bit insular and dependent.

I enjoyed the book. It was a Reese book club choice and I find those a bit hit and miss as to whether they are my type of book but this one was.

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