Bonita Avenue is the debut novel from Dutch journalist, Peter Buwalda and tells the story of renowned math professor and former judo champion, Siem Sigerius. On the surface, Siem seems to have it all: a happy second marriage, a wonderful relationship with his step-daughters and an illustrious career.
The story is told in retrospect from the point of view of many characters; only Siem’s step-daughter Joni tells her own story in present time. The reader is constantly confronted with the shock and shame of nearly every character as secrets come to light, some minor but most humiliating and quite horrible. With every reveal, Siem’s life becomes further unraveled and his efforts to conceal his past, his family’s transgressions and his own poor choices lead to tragic results.
Buwalda knows how to weave a story but many of the Dutch references (some based on real occurrences) may not have the intended impact on a foreign reader. Overall the novel is engaging but the family secrets are too dark and disturbing for this reviewer’s taste.
Bonita Avenue will be released in January 13, 2015.
Bonita Avenue: A Novel by Peter Buwalda Purchase Links:, Kindle Edition