Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Published: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Knoff Doubleday Publishing Group
My Rating: 3.5/5
Summary (from chapters.ca):
For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials "A.H." At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface.
As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago.
By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other.
It was on a recommendation from Jen Lancaster, one of my favourite authors, that I picked up this book and I am glad that I did... it really was a great book to read over the labour day long weekend and a read fitting for the end of summer.
This book was so riddled with family drama that I could barely keep my head straight. I found it so incredibly sad that because of one event, a very long time ago, a family's future became one so full of sorrow, regret and unhappy memories. How is it possible that through three generations (four once the great-grandchildren grow up), nothing has changed... not one family member took it upon themselves to stand up and clear the air.
I really enjoyed the differnt characters in this novel and thought that being able to read snippets from each of their view points really made the story that much more believable and that much more relatable. It allowed for you to get to the bottom of the family dynamic and see that if you just open your eyes, and your heart, you can overcome all of your adversities... it just takes some strength.
While I was sad with the way the story ended, I feel that everyone was where they should be. The journey that each has been on, or is about to go on, is where they should rightfully be. Who knew that a summer in Maine would be the answer to so many lingering questions.
Overall, I thought this book was a great beach bag read.