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Friday, July 26, 2013

Wish You Were Here: A Novel

I thoroughly enjoyed Stewart O'Nan's Songs for the Missing, so Wish You Were Here has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I finally picked it up this week for a cold-weather read.

After losing her husband to cancer, Emily gathers her family at the lake house for one last visit. Her two children come with their families, and her sister in law is present as well. As the family says goodbye to the house in Chautauqua that been in their family for generations, they also deal with their own personal crises. Meg is getting divorced and her children are adjusting; Ken and his wife Lisa are struggling to make ends meet while Ken follows his dream. Each Maxwell comes to the table with their own baggage and must deal with losses much greater than their own.

This book was so lovely. I have to say, I found it the perfect length for a vacation read. It's a tad on the long side but not too thick that you can't sit out on the porch or take it to the beach. The story is incredibly in-depth with full and complete character arcs. You will close the book astounded that you only spent a week with the Maxwells--you feel like you have known them your whole life.

I was able to dive into the pages and completely give myself over to this week at the lake house. I was able to experience the trip from every person's perspective. I understood Arlene's loss of love at a young age; I understood Emily's bitterness and need for control; I understood Meg's frustration at her mother and the continuation of the fraught relationship; I understood Lisa's disdain for her mother-in-law. This book was really beautiful and lovely, and I am glad I spent my week in the pages.

Pick this up before your summer vacation. Kindle on left, hard copy on right:

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