“A realistic, moving chronicle of the evolving relationship between sisters.”Kirkus Review
“Reel Life is poignant and thoughtful…”Midwest Book Review
“Movie buffs, sisters, daughters, mothers, the grown children of sisters—all will hungrily ingest Jackie Townsend’s first novel, Reel Life.” – 5 Star Review – Curled Up With A Good Book Blog“This novel took me a while to finish, not because it was slow or boring in the least, but the subtle nuancing of the story made me really want to take my time to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The characters were fascinating enigmas throughout and the tension between the sisters was palpable…REEL LIFE was a thoroughly compelling tale.” – Bellas Novellas “Surprising twists add to the drama, as infidelity and betrayal re-occur like a generational curse. But, that’s real life, and ultimately, REEL LIFE turns out to be interesting, just like in the movies.” – 4 out of 5 stars – San Francisco Book Review
Reel Life, the debut work of fiction by Jackie Townsend, charts the story of two sisters who must call upon the past to forge a new and meaningful connection. With iconic moments of contemporary cinema as its driving narrative thread, this finely-wrought, absorbing work will cut straight to the heart, and reveal the intricate emotions which come together in family.
Separated by barely a year, the two redheaded sisters that share the stage of this novel couldn’t be more different. Betty blossoms into a gregarious and creative woman, whose maternal instinct knows no bounds. Rejecting their mother’s narcissism, she embraces each of her numerous pregnancies with an almost manic fervor. Her sister, Jamie, affects a profound indifference to family, striking out into the world with a fierce independence.
As each copes with the pervasive conflicts generated by their dramatic mother and heavy-hearted father, they must also deal with the deeply underlying question, “Are sisters always there for each other?”
Throughout, the novel filters their inner journeys through the prism of films that mark each stage of their lives; from the false hope of The Wizard of Oz to the dark tones of Blue Velvet to the child-like magic of Shrek. When resentments build and secrets are harbored, all that binds them together is the spell of the cinema. When a betrayal rips them apart, a movie and a drink are no longer enough to hold their tenuous union together.
Exploring themes of motherhood, body image, ambition, and love, Reel Life offers a poignant close-up of the most intimate of relationships that move, confuse, haunt, and heal. Surging with drama interlaced with subtle irony, Reel Life will shock, surprise and move anyone who understands that sometimes, escaping reality offers the clearest path to emotional truth.