Maine
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Maine

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3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  20,173 ratings  ·  3,229 reviews
A Time Book of the Year
A Washington Post Book World Notable Book


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. As three generations of women arrive at the family's beach house, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published May 29th 2012 by Vintage (first published June 14th 2011)
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Two stars means it was "okay" and that's all the enthusiam I can muster for this one. The cover pulled me in, a woman on a beach, green sky surrounding her. It promised a fun literary beach read and unfortunately, for me, it didn't really deliver.

Three generations of Boston/Irish woman and another daughter in-law meet at the family's beach cottage (and two million dollar main house) in Maine. The narrative is told from the four women's points of view, which was a lot to overcome since only one a...more
Marci
See below... I finished the book. There was no good news. The characters were all thin, 1-dimensional angry/bitter or victims with NO redeeming qualities and few redeeming actions (which were performed grudgingly at best.) The male characters were simply parsley on the plate used ONLY to showcase the women...the entire preimise of the book apparently was "life's a bitch and then you die".

I am in the middle of this book...I have only gotten this far because...I continue to believe, that with a b...more
ilovebakedgoods (Teresa)
I felt like I read a different book/story than the one the jacket made me believe I was going to get. I didn't like many of the characters AT ALL, I don't even understand how these people got together every year at the cottage when they seemingly hated one another for so long. I don't know..too much to get into and I'm a very lazy reviewer, but while I don't feel like every character I come to know should be happy all the time, I can't stand reading about the most miserable people on the planet...more
Courtney
Absolutely loved this book. I thoroughly enjoyed "Commencement", and Sullivan did not disappoint with her latest novel, "Maine." I truly loved the characters in this book and felt invested in them, and enjoyed the story-telling aspects that took us into the earlier part of the 20th century. I read it on my Kindle, where I have the opportunity to highlight passages or phrases that move me, and found myself doing it frequently with this book- mostly in relation to personal experiences. I found mys...more
Vicki
The cover of this book is misleading -- I think that's upsetting a lot of readers, and that's probably fair. While the book IS set mainly on a beach in Maine, there's not too much that's lighthearted about this novel. But then, what are you going to show? 4 women angrily glaring at each other?

On the other hand, this book is exactly the kind of beach read that I do like. Good drama, easy to get wrapped up in, and a moving story. Three generations of women share the chapters in this book, and the...more
Kim G
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K
I had an odd reaction to this book. I have so many criticisms, and yet I found it surprisingly engaging in spite of its flaws. I wouldn't quite give it three stars -- it was way too flawed for that -- but it's actually a high two, as opposed to a low two.

This is one of those chick lit family dramas, three generations of women in one dysfunctional family, multiple viewpoints, blah blah blah. I can't remember the last time I read a book like this and thought it was well done; they're usually in t...more
Jane
I had to stop about 30% into the book (I'm reading it on a Kindle and it doesn't show page numbers but percentage) because well, it's just not very good writing. ...The author makes such a crucial mistake in writing which is she fails to SHOW what's happening and instead TELLS you what's happening. Therefore NOTHING HAS BEEN HAPPENING! All I've been reading is the back story of the first two characters, Alice and Kathleen. Don't tell me Alice is a self-conscious, judgmental, unsupportive mother....more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Families are the places we share the most happy times and the most miserable times, the greatest joys and the most pain, places where people lift us up to become our best selves and tear us down to our worst. Maine is a book about families.

There is wisdom about families in this book. Here’s a little about having a child:

“No one had told Kathleen about the dark parts of motherhood. You gave birth and people brought over the sweetest little shoes and pale pink swaddling blankets. But then you were...more
Jen
Note to Good Reads: I hate that you don't have half stars! Two stars seems a bit too critical, but three stars feels too much to award this book. It's finely written, and I loved the construct of offering differing points of view from three generations of women in one family. The author balances this juxtaposition well, effortlessly switching from one character's voice to another. And the great success of the book, for me, is that the author illustrates so well how no one can really ever know an...more
Lisa Schmeiser
Every once in a while, I think to myself, "Self, you should probably break out of your fantasy and scifi genre and read one of those books about generations of women who are so witless to keep perpetuating the same psychological battles down through the years. I always see women reading these on the ferry or on planes, they seem like the kind of women who get asked to book clubs, and you've really wanted to be part of a book club. So if you read it, perhaps they will come."

And then I pick up a b...more
thewanderingjew
“Maine”, by J.Courtney Sullivan, is largely the story of Alice Kelleher, a very direct, headstrong and outspoken matriarch, and three generations of her family who seem to become weaker with each successive generation. She is a devoted Catholic, driven by an almost religious fanaticism to do her duty and perform some act of kindness before she dies, in order to make up for her sins and ensure that she is not consigned to Hell. She is known for her sharpness of tongue, coldness, drinking and sudd...more
Laura
I thought a book with the title "Maine" would portray the state as an integral part of the story. However, this book could have taken place anywhere. The author did little to set the story in Maine other than citing a few local references. The characters were not well-developed and I found myself only mildly curious about them. The plot was thin and predictable, with Catholic guilt, Irish alcoholism, and sibling rivalry as major themes. Despite the dust-jacket blurb, I didn't find anything "wick...more
Dani Peloquin
Many of you may remember by review of the author's first novel "Commencement". While I didn't give it that great of a review, I did mention that I was looking forward to reading her books in the future as I thought she had some potential as a writer. It is for this reason that I jumped at the chance to her new novel "Maine". This is certainly very different from her first novel and I love it!

The novel follows four women in the Kelleher family during a monumental summer at their beach house in Ma...more
Eliza
I found this book highly readable but ultimately unsatisfying. Sullivan is a talented storyteller but there is little substance in her writing. I was thinking about how Jonathan Franzen (and many of his reviewers) were widely criticized. Why, people asked, do his books get so much attention when they are "just" domestic novels, not unlike so many similar novels written by women? But I believe Jonathan Franzen is a wonderful example of an author using the domestic setting to explore powerful idea...more
Onewithbooks
To say that this book was less than stellar is an understatement. First, the characters were either out and out unlikeable, insipid, or downright annoying. The storyline was slow and I felt that it took a long time to find out what the significant events were that had shaped the characters. I listened to this on audio book and it felt like the history of the battles was unfolded like peeling onion layers (and almost as painful). It seemed as though that was the whole point of the book rather tha...more
Kathleen
Reading the book cover, one might assume this is yet another novel about a multi-generational, dysfunctional family only this time on the eve of summer, the family cottage and beach house, their battlefield. “Maine” is so much more, weaving the history of Irish immigrants in Boston, decisions young women and men made about relationships, marriage and careers as young men shipped out abruptly during World War II, and the lingering power of the Catholic Church on these young couples.
The novel is n...more
Ann
Calling it now: bestseller. Not because it is a-mazing, like The Help or Room, but because it is the kind of books ladies like to read on their vacations and pass along to their friends.

With four female main characters from three generations, women will see themselves, their mothers, sisters, grandmothers, or children in at least one of the interwoven stories. And even though it didn't wrap up sufficiently for my tastes, this slice of family life, with its vivid characters that you alternate be...more
Chris
I admit, I didn't like a single character. Even in the end, I STILL didn't like anyone. Sullivan takes three generations and puts them in the part of Maine I've been visiting yearly for the past 17 years. So it was fun to visit since I haven't gotten up there yet this year! But spending a week with these women was claustrophobic to say the least. This was a one case I wasn't sorry to say goodbye to a book!
Valerie
*Sigh*

I wanted to love this book. One review I read said to make it your final summer read. I was expecting something fun and light, but there was nothing fun about this book. Once I realized it wasn't the light read I thought it was going to be, I just went with it. The story is told from the points of view of four women who cover three generations: Alice, the matriarch; Kathleen, her daughter; Ann Marie, her daughter-in-law, and Maggie, Kathleen's daughter. None of these women is likable. Alic...more
Kristin Strong
A Haiku Book Review

Three generations
Of family dysfunction
Thank God it's not mine.

Of course, there's much more to it than that. It's three generations of a women in a family with Issues (excuse the gratuitious caps, but there will be more before we've finished here), and those Issues are not complementary...or maybe they are, but in a friction-producing, resentment-engendering, contempt-breeding way. Alice, the widowed matriarch, is Boston-bred and Irish Catholic; she harbors what she believes to...more
Emily Sims Ritter
This book kept my attention, but it wasn't the engrossing family saga I was hoping it would be. The characters, for the most part, are unlikable, selfish people who are content to wallow in their memories of what someone did to them twenty years ago. The only characters in the book I liked were Maggie and Ann Marie, and I kept waiting for them to finally have their shining moments and tell everyone else to go to hell. It didn't happen.

*SPOILER BELOW*

The ending left quite a bit unresolved, and t...more
Elena
I wanted to like this book more than I
did. It shared some qualities with her first novel, Commencement, in that I enjoyed reading it but it moved slowly and I wasn't overly keen on the ending. The story is told through the perspective of four Irish-Catholic women. There is Alice, the matriarch with a mean streak, a propensity to drink and a dark secret. There is Kathleen her bitter, eldest daughter, who is a recovering alcoholic, and her daughter Maggie, a writer, with single motherhood looming...more
Mmoleski
The ending? Never saw that coming!
Andy Miller
Great novel about four women from three generations who eventually come to their family's summer homes in Maine at the same time.

Alice is the matriarch of the family, in her eighties though none of her family knows her exact age. She is extremely committed to her Catholic faith though the faith does not keep her from routinely terrorizing her family. Maggie is her 32 grandaughter who is pregnant and abandoned by her boyfriend before she can tell him the news. Ann Marie is the daughter in law who...more
Melissa Acuna
A tale of three generations of a Boston-based Irish/American family. Each woman is flawed, each is challenged in some way, by motherhood and her relationship with her children and her family. Despite the name, this story could have been set in any location and the strength of the characters would make it worthwhile reading. It is not a book that should be taken as a substitute for visiting Maine or a book that informs the reader about life in Maine.

The author (and I should add the disclaimer th...more
Natalie (Natflix&Books)
If you didn't know better, it would be easy to write off Maine as a light-hearted, summer read; with its idyllic beach cover and flourished title writing, but it is not the easy, fun read you might expect. Which isn't to say that it was hard to get through, it just doesn't have the levity one might expect at first glance. Like a blurb on her book 'Commencement' stated: it's the smart woman's beach read. It's funny this rash of East coast summer house books that have come out lately. Just a coupl...more
Connie
3 1/2 stars
Maine is a multigenerational novel about four women in the dysfunctional Kelleher family. The book tells about their recent stay at the family cottage along an Ogunquit beach during one summer month, and also goes back all through the 20th Century in flashbacks.

The 83-year-old matriarch of the Irish-American family is Alice, a sharp- tongued, strong-willed widow. She feels very guilty about an event in her past, and much of her life has been a penance for it. Alice's feelings as a you...more
Erika Robuck
MAINE, by J. Courtney Sullivan, was published in hardcover in June of 2011, and just came out in paperback. Both editions have hit the New York Times Bestsellers list, and the novel was named a Best Book of the Year by Time magazine. I had intended to read it while at the beach later this summer, but picked it up recently to read a chapter. Five days later, I finished the book in tears, and missed the characters who I’d gotten to know and love in spite of their flaws.

MAINE is the story of three...more
LeeAnn
MAINE BOOK REVIEW by LeeAnn Sharpe

MAINE by J Courtney Sullivan

I so much wanted to be there for our Seasoned Readers Book Club at Barnes & Noble last night. But, Mom had an Alzheimer's melt down and I couldn't go. So to calm her I had a discussion of the book with her instead.

Our family spent summers in Maine near where this story takes place in Needick Beach, Maine, although our cabin was at Sebago Lake, not the ocean. Mom and Dad are both from the area and I still have oodles of cousins the...more
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J. Courtney Sullivan is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Commencement, Maine and The Engagements. Maine was named a Best Book of the Year by Time magazine, and a Washington Post Notable Book for 2011. Courtney’s writing has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, Allure, Men’s Vogue, and the New York Observer, among...more
More about J. Courtney Sullivan...
Commencement The Engagements Dating Up: Dump the Schlump and Find a Quality Man Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists

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“You all seem to think you should marry someone when you feel this intense emotion, which you call love. And then you expect the love will fade over time, as life gets harder. When what you should do is find yourself a nice enough fellow and let real love develop over years and births and deaths and so on.” 6 likes
“All of it remained, a constant reminder: He existed, then he didn't. The world spins on, indifferent to the mess.” 5 likes
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