This is the story of a 30-something woman whose somewhat-estranged father commits suicide. She returns “home” to gather with her siblings, her half-siblings, and her father’s many ex-wives in an awkward reunion at his funeral.
I can easily see this book adapted to the big screen. I think that this idea – a dysfunctional family coming together after a death – has all the makings of a tragi-comedic movie that comes out the weekend after Thanksgiving.
The truth about this novel, however, is that it’s not really about the reunion itself; rather, it’s about the narrator’s messed up life and her bad decisions. She is thousands of dollars in debt. She is breaking up with her husband. She drinks too much. She is a writer who hasn’t written successfully in a long time. The other characters in the book play second fiddle and are, in many ways, underdeveloped.
There’s something frustrating about watching a character, the “I” you are embodying as a reader, be such a screw-up. For me, it makes it difficult to sink into the story. That said, there is something very accessible about this book. It is easy to read, easy to understand, easy to finish quickly. This would be a great novel to read on a plane trip – or when you just want to feel better about the decisions you have made in your own life.
You can find a fun article about the author here.