Top critical review
A little young and not-now, but a good read
Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2012
"Saving Ruth" is a good, quick read, but skewed a little young - it's about a 19-year-old home from college in a small Southern town. I recommend this book for girls, age 13-20.
It's supposed to take place NOW (c. 2012 or maybe 2010?) but I just don't think the author has her finger on the pulse of today's 19- and 20-year olds. I think Ms. Fishman was mostly reminiscing about her own 19th summer, and tried to throw in a lot of references to today - some cell phones and texting, some MTV shows, but it mostly rang untrue. Today's 20-year-olds are different from 20-year-olds from when I was 20 (12 years ago!) or from when Ms. Fishman was 20 - they like their parents more, they use technology differently, they know more (it's ok to not like sex, although no graphic sex is depicted in the novel), there are different expectations - like why didn't these kids, who go to good colleges, get internships instead of coaching swimming for the summer? No mention of a bad economy, so.... no explanation was given.
Also, I'm Jewish in the South, and I just felt like some of the situations about being a minority rang untrue, and went unexplained... we're left to assume that Ruth's dad is a lawyer but he's "from New York" and eats lunch at home - so what kind of lawyer is he? How did he get from New York to small-town Alabama? How far do they drive to their synagogue? And Ruth's brother, off in Atlanta at Mercer College, is at a Baptist school. That is is not addressed, even as a source of his discontent.
These things bothered me while and after I read them. But I still enjoyed the book and look forward to seeing Ms. Fishman on her book tour.