This year I’ve challenged myself to read fifty books. This is no easy task for a slow reader, especially since so many other things distract me. Through this blog, I’ll share the books I’m reading and keep myself on track. Please feel free to offer suggestions of books you’ve enjoyed!
Book Number: 33
This book left me with mixed feelings. I love Ann Patchett’s writing style. She has an eye for detail and a wonderful way of expressing what she sees. Her characters are real and I felt a part of each setting. For example, the opening chapter takes place in the 1960’s. Patchett does not tell us this, but the entire scene feels like the era.
This story is about two families, the Cousins and Keatings, who are joined through divorce and remarriage. There are two sets of parents and six children, but the blended family is far from the Brady Bunch. The relationships are complex, full of confusion, distrust, mutual support, love, jealousy—a realistic view of what happens when two families combine and are then affected by a tragedy. The novel spans fifty years and reveals choices the characters make and how each event influences those that follow.
Although I loved the writing I found the disjointed jumping around from character to character, setting to setting, and era to era a bit jarring and like a jigsaw puzzle. There were many characters and keeping them straight was sometimes a challenge. Some minor characters were dropped into the story, drew my interest, and then were forgotten. I wanted to hear their stories, too.
I was disappointed by the ending. This novel was more an exploration of relationships and, perhaps, the randomness of life’s events. I usually like a story that leaves me wondering what might have happened next, but in this case, I was left feeling that nothing was going to happen next. That the story, if continued, would tell of many people rambling through life.
I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a good wordsmith and likes stories about relationships. If you prefer a plot-driven novel, you might find the lack of chronology, the number of characters, and the general lack of a concrete plot not to your liking.