The Turner House

Thoughts tthbyaf by Angela Flournoy, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015, 352 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Hardback / Library
 Why I read this now: trying to cram as many of the shortlist in before Monday.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A family drama, a black family of 13 children, bookended by the eldest son’s obsession with a ghost (a haint) from his childhood and the youngest’s attempt to survive without a job, a place to live and with a gambling addiction. Lots of family dynamics all set within the framework of a decaying family house within a story of the city of Detroit.

WHAT’s GOOD: I thought it honest about fear of living/surviving, fear of aging, racism realities, addiction.

What’s NOT so good: I have only a minor quibble about geography. An editor might have caught this inconsistency question and suggested a reroute so someone like me from Kansas doesn’t get panties in a twist about how a guy could take the train from Pine Bluff Arkansas to Detroit and somehow see the scenery of Kansas. Or how a truck driver on a route of Detroit to Nashville ends up wooing a pharmacist tech in Kansas City. Hmmmph.

FINAL THOUGHTS: An easy reading, interesting family drama that will keep Angela Flournoy on my list of authors-to-follow.

RATING: I gave it four slices but it might only be a 3+. Overall, I liked it, but it is already fading as I now get immersed in the audio of Fates and Furies and print of The Sellout.

Pie Mentions:  Page 151 “Tamale pie”




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23 thoughts on “The Turner House

  1. I’m glad you liked this. This was one of my most enjoyable books last year – not one that knocked my socks off the most, but one that I just really enjoyed the experience of reading. It made me really curious to see what Ms. Flournoy will do in the future! I will definitely be picking up her next title.

      1. Yes… was just going to reply over there. It’s been nearly 20 years since I read Beach Music, but absolutely loved it then and still consider it my favorite Conroy novel. The Prince of Tides comes in second. Very curious to see if I love Beach Music as much now.

        1. I ask because I really do want to read a book by Conroy because I have a good friend who is a huge fan. But I was quite put off by The Great Santini. I wish I had tried Beach Music instead. Now I have an unfavorable expectation.

  2. Care, it’s such a delight to read your reviews. 🙂 Your posts always make me smile.

    I have never heard of this book. I am going to try reading it. And, I loved your observation on geography. 🙂 How could they miss such a thing!

    I look forward to reading your review of ‘Fates and Furies’. 🙂

    1. No? Why not? But that’s OK, too, if just doesn’t capture your attention.It is a good one for learning a different city through a lens that might be considered ‘diverse’ and experience the same human condition. Which is what I love about reading, especially books that I may not have been introduced to otherwise. Thank you Rooster!

  3. As an East Coaster with a terrible head for geography, I wouldn’t have batted an eye at those routes, but I’m surprised, too, that an editor didn’t get out a map and double-check!

  4. I’ve been thinking of trying this one, but then have seen some so-so reviews from other bloggers, so might give it a pass. I am a sucker for family dynamics, though!

    By the way – I love the format of your reviews – right to the point and not a lot of needless plot summary!

    1. Thanks, I have had people tell me that I am very good at not giving anything away in my reviews. I hate spoilers but I also sometimes come back to my own reviews and they are so sparse I can’t recall what the book was about! When I read a review, I want to know if the reviewer liked it and why. Plot usually doesn’t come into it.

    1. Fates and Furies is very artsy. One might find the prose pretentious but I don’t, but I get how some might say it. It is different than I expected – it’s BETTER than I expected! I am not even half way yet.

  5. Mmm, tamale pie sounds delicious.

    I liked this book a lot! I thought it was amazingly assured and great for a debut novel, and I also read it before the hype train on it had really built up steam, which always helps to regulate expectations. Glad you liked it too, even if it wasn’t a perfect read for you!

  6. I would not have known it was a debut novel if I didn’t already know that (and am trying to track but I really don’t know why because this data is not that important to me…) I’m glad you liked this book, too.

  7. YES! I loved it, too, but was surprised how it faded, unlike THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD or TWELVE TRIBES OF HATTIE or AVA LAVENDAR. Wonder why that is…

    1. It was solid. SOLID. But nothing earth-shattering startling?! I don’t know. I am really liking its solidness against Fates and Furies, but F&F is artsy…. Art as in Drama. Now, compared to ‘solid’…

      Flournoy has more and I will be reading it.

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