BOOK TOUR REVIEW: The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle
The Whole Golden World
by Kristina Riggle
Seventeen-year-old Morgan Monetti shocks her parents and her community with one simple act: She chooses to stand by the man everyone else believes has exploited her—popular high school teacher TJ Hill. Quietly walking across a crowded courtroom to sit behind TJ, and not beside her parents, she announces herself as the adult she believes herself to be.
But her mother, Dinah, wants justice. Dinah is a fighter, and she believes with all her heart and soul that TJ is a man who took advantage of her daughter. He is a criminal who should be brought to justice, no matter what the cost to his family.
Rain, TJ’s wife, is shocked that her handsome, loving, respected husband has been accused of a terrible crime. But has her desperation to start a family closed her eyes to the fault lines in her marriage? And can she face the painful truths about herself and her husband?
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
This is the second book I’ve read that deals with the subject of a student/teacher affair, but I must say this one resonated with me a lot more. Though there were a wide cast of characters in the novel, I think any given reader could find themselves identifying with not just one, but several of those affected by the actions of the affair.
I think what I appreciated most about this novel is that each and every one of the characters was just so human. From Morgan, the 17 year old who feels not good enough, to TJ, the teacher who is tired of being berated by his wife, Rain, and all the way to Morgan’s mother Dinah…no one is fully either a sinner or a saint. I couldn’t believe the range of emotions Kristina Riggle brought me through, and by the end of the book, I had changed my initial opinion of nearly every single character.
The one problem I had was that the symbolism and motivations were a bit too conspicuous sometimes. Morgan has one huge insecurity that keeps being mentioned again and again, and she even writes poetry that contains some very heavy handed metaphors. I suppose it kind of annoyed me that the reader was being spoon-fed this type of information–I prefer to find and decipher the symbolism in books for myself, thanks.
I can’t say that the book had what I would exactly call a happy ending, but I think after seeing what each character had to separately go though, that each ended up where they belonged. No one escaped without some kind of damage being done, and it really makes you think about the selfish decisions we make each day and how we don’t think about who they will affect.
This book should appeal to readers in their twenties and thirties, both those young enough to remember the bad decisions of their teenage years, and those at an age to wish they had those years back. I think women, particularly, and book clubs, will love this stellar offering.
About the Author
Kristina Riggle is a former newspaper reporter now pursuing her first love, writing fiction. Her character-driven novels have been honored by independent booksellers in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, and her debut, Real Life & Liars, was a Target “Breakout” pick. She finds people of all walks of life fascinating, as in the old A&E “Biography” slogan, “Every life has a story.” She’s the co-editor for fiction for the e-zine Literary Mama, and has published short stories at Literary Mama, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. When not writing, she can be found taking care of her two kids and dog, and squeezing in time to read whenever she can.