Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Modern, Vivid, Generational Drama
Maine is a modern story that follows a Grandmother, a daughter, a daughter-in-law and a Granddaughter. An incredibly well-written women’s saga with rich and vivid text, Maine would be a good pick for your next book club.
Grandmother Alice was once beautiful and had the world at her doorstep. Alice feels responsible for her sister’s death which occurred over sixty years ago. Alice was always the beautiful one; the only reason she married her husband was because she felt guilty about her sister’s death. Alice felt that she needed to live her sister’s life—to marry and to have children, despite the fact that she didn’t want either. Alice wanted to be an artist. Now in her eighties, still beautiful and defiant, the grumpy Alice decides to leave the family’s multi-million dollar beach house to the local church.
For me Mary Anne is the character one most has empathy with as she is a loving and kind woman, a good mother who has married into the family. Mary Anne feels that Alice is like a mother, and treats her as such, she feels that she treats Alice better than Alice’s own children do. Mary Anne cannot believe how Alice’s own children ignore her and spend no time with her. Having helped Alice improve the beach house and after paying for years of upkeep, Mary Anne fully expects that her family will inherit the beach house.
Kathleen hates her sister in law Mary Anne and since her father’s death has not returned home or spoken to her mother. Kathleen adored her father, who doted on her-- once he was gone, there was no reason for her to go home again. Stubborn Kathleen has dealt with alcoholism and divorce, she also married a man that she didn’t love. She loves her crazy life now, living with her boyfriend, owning a worm farm…an unconventional life far away from her crazy mother.
Maggie is a modern working woman who desperately wants her boyfriend to commit already. And, lucky her, he is going to kick his loser roommate out and let her move in. Maggie and Gabe laugh, they fight, they have fun, they fight. As charming as boyfriend is, how will he react when he learns of her unplanned pregnancy?
Have you read The Three Weismann’s of Westport? Maine very much reminded me of that story only with less empathetic characters. I’ll ask you to read both and decide which book you preferred.
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