I loved this book. I found it nearly impossible to put down, and I read later into a few nights than I meant to. I know this is controversial (most Sebold fans here seem to have hated this book), but I liked this one even more than The Lovely Bones. This is certainly a more mature book, and Helen, the main character, is much richer and more nuanced than the people in The Lovely Bones.Helen's relationship with her mentally ill mother isn't one of love as we would recognize it, but relies on a deep sense of responsibility that must have stood for love. Decades of verbal abuse from her mother, who towers over Helen's life (her care for her mother has ruined every other relationship, even those with her own children), has left Helen trained to be emotionally numb. Unfortunately, although this seems to leave her unaffected by her mother's biting comments, she is also numb to her own life. This is the most interesting part of the novel to me: the grisly effect of decades of subtle abuse which twisted Helen's life like tiny wires twisting a bonsai tree. Her own actions would probably shock her if she were still capable of feeling shock, but she isn't. Instead, we see her return to a her sense of responsibility, unable to let go of her obligation to her mother even under extreme circumstances.This was a sad, delicate book, framed within a shocking twenty-four hours that kept me unable to put it down. The effect was intense, dizzying, and affecting. Recommended.