The Great Believers

Thoughts (cover) by Rebecca Mekkai, 2018, 18 hrs 17 minutes

Narrated by Michael Crouch

Challenge:  Personal, TOB influenced
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Audible Audiobook
 Why I read this now:  on my mind and timing worked? (no idea)

MOTIVATION for READING:

FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN FICTION
WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR FICTION
WINNER OF THE STONEWALL BOOK AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

Soon to Be a Major Television Event, optioned by Amy Poehler

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris…

THOUGHTS: What I wrote on goodreads:

Maybe this is a 4 star PLUS maybe it is a 5 but it is heart-wrenching and emotional; a button-pushing, guilt-absorbing, helluva read. 

I have yet to read any reviews but I hope some mention that it is a book about motherhood almost as much as lost-enduring love and the AIDS epidemic in the 80s, and Chicago. so many themes. so many feelings.

Imaginary Interviewer: “So, Care, why do you claim this book is about motherhood?”

Care: “Sorry, my intention was to suggest that a theme of motherhood is woven into the story and it explores our expectations of what motherhood should be.”

II: “Like what?”

Care: “Well, it struck me early on that Yale’s mother abandoning him when he was 6 pr 7 might come back up – actually, this book had some obvious foreshadowing tactics and this was one – sort of. You don’t bring up the guy’s sad childhood and chat about his mother who left more than the father who stayed without making the reader hope it is resolved or explored later.

And, I didn’t expect the how Makkai brought her back!  Well done. NOT cliche. At least to me.”

II: Is this going to be a spoiler-full post?

Care: “Yes, I think it is.

II, shouting: “SPOILERS AHEAD!!!  OK, go on.”

Care: “Sure. So, Fiona shut out her mother because Mom kicked out the son, the brother Nico. Or rather didn’t stop Dad from doing so. Maybe Mom did what she could – allowing Fiona to rob from her purse to give to Nico, etc. But the funeral stuff was very very sad.

And then Fiona was devastated that she was shut out by her daughter. And she couldn’t figure it out because she was nothing NOTHING! like her mother.

And then there was the Cecily – Kurt, mother-son relationship. Also, there was Teresa, Charlie’s mom and mom to Yale in turn. Who was all heart, it seemed.

Plus, the dash of southern motherly love for Julian! I loved that part. I think, as a reader in the situation we are immersed in to that point, especially, you don’t expect Julian’s mom to welcome him back home and not bat an eye. But she does.

Finally, Nora and her ‘having her son so late’ and thus spoiling him. Ha! Wow, did I hate Frank and that whole thing. Just horrid.

Basically, you can’t expect how your kids will turn out. You can’t assume a happy relationship, no matter what the circumstances?

I liked Yale and liked the 80s storyline. Fiona was not someone I could warm up to but by the end of the book, I was able to be empathetic, sympathetic to her (and glad her therapist seemed sensible with the advice to ‘be the grown up’.)

Still not sure what to think of Claire. She seemed overly harsh to me. And she is probably why I give this 4 and not 5 slices.

Fiona suffered PTSD. Yale didn’t deserve that fate and boy was I pissed off at Roman. And Frank. And Bill. and Charlie. Gah! There were some peaches in this book, goodness gracious.

Fiona’s ex husband came out looking OK, though. All the best to his wife.

Gosh, Richard was happy-go-lucky, yes?

II:  (gives perplexed nod.)

Care: “Yay Richard.”

(Moment of uncomfortable silence.)

II: “Care, how long has it been since you wrote a book review?”

Care: “Uh, too long? I’m a bit rusty.”

II: “Yep.”

RATING: Four slices of pie.

Potpie was mentioned and I think there was a bit of pie sharing in the driving-north-to Wisconsin parts. I think.

At 36%, I have a quote marked:

 “Sold out her father for what was left of the pie.”

 

 

 

pierating

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