FIRST Sentence: Late one July evening in 1994, Red and Abby Whitshank had a phone call from their son Denny.
What’s it ABOUT: This is not very plot heavy so let’s see I how do here. This book is about a family with a father and a mother and their four kids; eventually there’s grandkids. One son, Denny, is the black sheep, but it’s not about him, really. I could possibly say it is about Abby. It’s an odd novel that I surely failed to appreciate for its strengths. Another character is the house the family lived it. Red had lived there most of his life; his father built it. We get some of that generation’s story, too. I can’t even pick out a favorite character. But Red’s mom is something else.
I wish I could find something exciting to add. Perhaps I have you curious? Perhaps you adore Anne Tyler and don’t really care what I think about it? That’s my hope. You can tell she is a very comfortable author with her craft.
WHAT’s GOOD: There is nothing wrong, per se. I found it rather boring. It did have a few good chuckles — observations about family, relationships and expectations.
What’s NOT so good: Me, I suppose. I cannot pinpoint what failed to capture my attention, why I didn’t fall for this more. I usually like character-driven family drama style books, don’t I?
If you’ve read this book and think you might have a sense of what kind of book I like, do you find it funny that I didn’t enjoy this more? I do. I actually think this would be the kind of book I would write if I ever find a story burning in my brain begging to be told.
FINAL Thoughts: I’m glad to have read it and I am most curious about what the judges will say in the TOB. I have this inkling that I will be able to agree with those that loved it but also identify with any faults found by those who didn’t like it.
I hope we have a wonderful discussion at book club! I usually do come away from our meetings with new appreciations. This is my most dedicated and focused club – we have a little bell to ring when the conversation strays away from the book which means that everyone usually has something to share beyond, “Yep, I liked it.”
“What’s for dessert?” Tommy asked his mother.
Stem said, “SSh. Grandma’s on the phone.”
“Blueberry pie,” Nora said.
RATING: Three slices of blueberry pie.