I always pick up Award nominees with a bit of hesitation. I am hesitate not only because I have a a big expectation and that everyone has been bragging about it tons but that I just won’t “get” it. There have been a number of books that have won The Man Booker Prize, Baileys Women’s Prize or even Pulitzer Prize and I really haven’t taken to them. So I picked this up with a bit of apprehension…
Well my goodness, was I so wrong to be hesitate at all! I absolutely loved this. It was such an easy read and was a lovely, realistic tale about family. I was really struck by how Anne Tyler portrays family, people and life in such a relatable way. It is the truest version I have ever read. It’s about how people carry on and without the drama that you normally get in novels, especially those about families.
It is the story of the Whitshank family, four different generations and revolves around their family home in Baltimore. It involves love, loss, drama, and the typical prodigal son. The stories told are not in chronological order nor do they really make much sense in the order that they are in yet they do not seem disjointed and quite frankly, who learns about their own family history in chronological order?! There were some shocks in there but it was just a beautiful read.
I related to most of the characters and know so many of the traits in my own family. If not in character than in actions. The vibe between them and the relationships were so heartwarming and cutting at times. Tyler captures what belonging to a family is about and the love and hate that you have for them. One thing I did have trouble with was the beginning and ending with Denny, the prodigal son if you will. I dislike him as a character, for similar reasons to that of his family and found him to be really frustrating (as you can probably figure, he is the one that I didn’t relate to at all) so him “bookmarking” the book was a bit disappointing.
Other than that, a truly lovely tale about family life and a really easy read too. Thoroughly enjoyed and actually adored this novel. It was beautiful. So deserving of it’s nominations! Also, the metaphor of the title is also really well done and I love the fact that you don’t find out about it until the end. Well worth a read.
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler