Book - 2005
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"Work hard. Do good. Be incredible!" That's the advice Teresa Rae Wood gives the listeners of her popular local radio show, Modern Pioneers, and she has taken it to heart in her own life. She fled a bad marriage, escaping to Midden, Minnesota (pop. 408), where she fell in love with a carpenter who became a loving stepfather to her children, Claire and Joshua. Now Claire is away at college, Joshua is laboring through his senior year of high school, and Teresa and Bruce are working to make ends meet. Despite their struggles, their love for each other binds them as a family. Then they receive the devastating news that Teresa has cancer and at thirty-eight may have less than one year to live. Those she will leave behind face something previously unimaginable -- a future without her. In Torch, the award-winning writer Cheryl Strayed creates from one family's shattering experience a novel infused with tenderness, compassion, and beauty.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
ISBN: 9780618472178
Call Number: STRAYED
Characteristics: 323 p. ; cm.
Subjects: Minnesota -- Fiction.
Cancer in women -- Fiction.
Mothers -- Death -- Fiction.
Cancer -- Patients -- Fiction.
Women in radio broadcasting -- Fiction.


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prettiipreppii Dec 25, 2016

Not bad but not too good either.In the middle for me.I've read better!

Feb 10, 2016

I found this book to be quite captivating. I enjoyed the character studies of all of the people in the book. It was at times disturbing and sad, at other times joyful and satisfying. I found it to be quite thought-provoking and I wished the characters well as I read. Once I got to the middle I ended up spending a rainy day reading it to the end.

ksoles Jul 12, 2012

In Cheryl Strayed's debut novel, cancer rocks the foundation of a Minnesota family. As a teenaged mother, Teresa Rae Wood fled her abusive husband and started a new life outside Duluth. Townspeople know her for her decency, her keen mind and her quirky radio program, "Modern Pioneers."

Teresa's family includes her daughter, Claire, a book-smart and emotive college senior; her son, Joshua, a sensitive and taciturn adolescent about to graduate from high school; and Bruce, her common-law husband and adoring soulmate. The tragic news of Teresa’s diagnosis followed by her ultimate death shatters the family as each member takes a unique approach toward self-destruction. Bruce alienates himself from the community and latches on to the first single woman he can find. Joshua develops a drug habit, drops out of school and becomes a father. Claire has a sexual dalliance with a much older man and lets her studies slide.

If you've read Strayed's excellent new memoir, "Wild," "Torch" may seem repetitive because of its autobiographical nature. Nevertheless, Strayed has a gift of getting to the core of the human condition without artifice. She effectively taps into the psyche of midwestern America, and her evocative prose leaves an indelible mark. She has composed a hauntingly beautiful story written with tenderness and endowed with true insights into the frailty of relationships.

Jun 29, 2006

Excellent family drama. One of those page-turners with wonderful dialogue between characters you care about. Teresa, a young mother of two teens dies of cancer and the story explores the grief of her children and her common law husband Bruce. I hated to see this book end.


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