26 June 2015

Did You Ever Have a Family; Bill Clegg

Did You Ever Have A FamilyDid You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I did like the writing, but the multiple (multitude of) narrators was a bit much. The tragedy of loss of several lives due to a faulty gas oven becomes the background by which we explore the lives touched by Will and Lolly, a young couple due to be married the day after this explosion; they aren't married, instead they're buried. It's very true that our lives create ripples far beyond our own, but it isn't clear from the start that the narrators are in any way related. Instead we get slow, almost meandering narratives exploring the characters' pasts, eventually leading to the present and the lives intertwining. As I said, it's the writing less than the many POVs that got me. There's an overlay of sadness (expected, obviously, but in some places a little surprising). Because the plot doesn't seem to be moving forward much of the time, instead dwelling on the past, readers might not be inclined to continue but it is, in the end, worth it.

One quibble unrelated to plot or writing (well, sort of): why don't authors do a better job of disguising the setting? By giving us a fake town name, a fake CT prep school name, but giving us real nearby towns, the exact route to the one school it could possibly be? Seems lazy.

ARC provided by publisher.

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