Oh, my goodness. It’s 2020. I’m talking about a book I finished last year. What audacity I have, yes? But also this book took me a month and a half. So I’m going to share my review. This is my first post of the new year so I’m excited. I’ll be sharing more about my posting schedule this weekend, for sure.
When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that’s to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents’.
As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt–given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before–we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons’ past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.
Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo’s debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family’s becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.
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Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5 Stars
So this book technically took me a month to read. Normally when a book takes me this span of time, I give up. But I just had to see this book through. I don’t know why I couldn’t give up. I picked it up from the library, tried to start it, and I requested a longer check out time copy so I could finish. Then I renewed it. Still, I finished and am so proud of myself.
This is a rich family drama. I’m not normally a fan of family stories since mine is such a hot mess. This book follows the Sorensen daughters and their parents. It spans from when their parents meet to 2017. But it’s not told in a linear fashion. So there’s a lot of POV switching and time hopping. This was a little annoying when time periods would reveal different things, and I felt like the book was just dragging on at some points.
The book is weird because I liked it, but I was also mad at all of the characters. There were a lot of annoying traits they had, and sometimes their behavior was so… bad. The family is trying to deal with their second daughter have the child she gave up for adoption come back into the picture. Jonah is sixteen and ends up back in this family, due to circumstances that were unrealistic. This whole book can be melodramatic at times where I wanted to just scream at how ridiculous they would act. Jonah is the only character I liked. And the parents. The sisters were just so horrible in their own way, it’s like the author wants you to hate them. I ended up just deciding to buckle down and finish the book. I’m glad I did,but I think it could have been better if it was like a hundred pages shorter and more linear.
I look forward to reading more from Lombardo. Any fans of family dramas need to pick this up. Just be prepared to be reading this for a long time to come.