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April 2, 2016

Did You Ever Have a Family


Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
Fiction
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

Publisher’s Blurb:

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 fiancĂ©, 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.

Final Thoughts:

I’m definitely in the minority on this one. Read it for yourself and let me know your thoughts.

10 comments:

  1. I'm always happy to see a dissenting opinion about a book - I always have a hard time believing that one book has impressed every reader. Then, too, if I decide to read it, I go in with lower expectations.

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    1. Lisa, thanks for your take on dissenting opinions! :) I just feel bad when it's a book that so many of my friends have loved. I feel like I'm missing out on something.

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  2. I really did like this one....do you think the fact that you read it as an e-book changed your liking of it? I'm not sure I would have liked to read it that way. I have found myself having a hard time with some books on my kindle, but a paper copy seems to be different.

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    1. Tina, I don't know if the ebook format had anything to do with my disappointment. Usually that happens more with audiobooks, at least for me.

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  3. I've read nothing but raves about this one so I'm glad to see your review so my expectations won't be so high.

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    1. Kathy, it was a shame that I read two books, back-to-back, that had both received such high praise, but wound up somewhat disappointing for me. And, I'm feeling it again right now with my current book. It's good, but not great.

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  4. Oh, too bad... I really loved this one.

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    1. I know you did, JoAnn! Oh, well.

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  5. I have this in audio and am now a little concerned.

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    1. Joy, well you never know. You may love it! :)

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