April 2, 2016
Did You Ever Have a Family
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
2015 Simon & Schuster ebook
Finished on January 1, 2016
Rating: 2.5/5 (Fair)
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD, MAN BOOKER PRIZE, PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE, AND ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Amazon • Library Journal • Booklist • NPR • Kirkus Reviews • Guardian • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Google Play • Kobo • Literary Hub • Powell’s
On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s life is completely devastated when a shocking disaster takes the lives of her daughter, her daughter’s fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke—her entire family, all gone in a moment. And June is the only survivor.
Alone and directionless, June drives across the country, away from her small Connecticut town. In her wake, a community emerges, weaving a beautiful and surprising web of connections through shared heartbreak.
From the couple running a motel on the Pacific Ocean where June eventually settles into a quiet half-life, to the wedding’s caterer whose bill has been forgotten, to Luke’s mother, the shattered outcast of the town—everyone touched by the tragedy is changed as truths about their near and far histories finally come to light.
This debut novel got so much buzz when it was first released and I quickly downloaded a copy to my Nook, eager to read it on my flight to Oregon on Christmas Day. Not especially joyful reading, but one which I thought would grab my attention and keep me distracted until we landed in Portland. I think I read it mostly on the flight out, set it aside for the remainder of the week, and finished it on the flight home. I never connected with any of the characters and I found the alternating chapters, told from a different point-of-view (which read like separate vignettes), somewhat jarring. It wasn’t until the last quarter of the book that I finally came to care about what happened and the final outcome for those involved.
I’m definitely in the minority on this one. Read it for yourself and let me know your thoughts.