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The Tin Can Tree

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  1,762 ratings  ·  71 reviews
In the small town of Larksville, the Pike family is hopelessly out of step with the daily rhythms of life after the tragic, accidental death of six-year-old Janie Rose. Mrs. Pike seldom speaks, blaming herself, while Mr. Pike is forced to come out of his long, comfortable silence. Then there is ten-year-old Simon, who is suddenly without a baby sister -- and without unders ...more
Published (first published 1965)
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Murray
Anne Tyler has been one of my favorite writers for the last 30 years. I don't think it's because I grew up a few neighborhoods away from her; I think it's because she's talented, tender, and wise. "The Tin Can Tree" is her second novel and will celebrate it's 50th anniversary next year. It's the story of several families and individuals 'trapped' in a small town in any state in the country, living their daily lives, wanting something better, but not really knowing how to grasp it. Almost sounds ...more
Patricia
I really do like Anne Tyler's books. Her books (there are quite a few) are not so much plots, as in moving along story lines, as they are character studies. When you carefully read her words, you feel like you know these people. You feel like you're there with them. Very often her characters are sad, melancholy people doing ordinary, unexciting things, dealing with loss or disappointment. Sounds depressing, huh...

This book is about three (rather dysfunctional) family units living in a three unit
...more
Laurie
I derive so much pleasure out of discovering an author that has written many books (19 in this case) and I have never read any of them. It means I have a lot to look forward to reading! I chose Anne Tyler because I read a review of her latest book, The Beginner's Goodbye, in the newspaper.
I found the second book she wrote at my library. The Tin Can Tree seemed a good place to start.
The setting is a rural, backwater area of the South. The story opens at the funeral of six-year-old Janie Rose Pik
...more
Mary
Apr 02, 2014 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
In the small town of Larksville, the Pike family is in the midst of terrible crisis. They are hopelessly out of step with the rhythms of daily life after the tragic, accidental death of six-year-old Janie Rose. Janie Rose's absence is keenly felt by everyone and her family will never be whole again.

Lou - Janie's mother - blames herself for her daughter's death, and so has retreated into her own private world of grief. She seldom speaks to those around her and is barely aware of her surroundings.
...more
Ann
This is a quick, enjoyable read and shows flashes of the genius that Anne Tyler later developed. She really captures the feel of the place and the cadence of people's lives and language. The characters didn't come as alive for me as in most of her later books, and I think that is because she tried too hard to explain them here, instead of just letting them be.
Judy
I liked this book. I miss the usual quirky character Anne Tyler usually has though as in the Accidental tourist and If morning ever comes and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant.
This is a lovely story though of a family and how they deal with the loss of a child and the 2 sets of neighbors that live in their triplex.
Rose
In her second book , Anne Tyler again squeezes out emotional power from her characters.


"Bravest thing about people, Miss Joan, is how they go on loving mortal beings after finding out there's such a thing as dying.”
Candace
Jan 06, 2014 Candace rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Anne Tyler; fans of first novels by distinguished writers
This was a strong early novel for Anne Tyler. It moved verrrry slowly, and the resolution kind of went over my head or was tacked on and artificial. However, the characters were interesting, and the story kept me engaged.

I have real problems with the character of Ansel -- was he chronically ill? Dying? A drunk? Selfish? Caring? A hypochondriac or a drunken hypochondriac? The answers to those questions never became clear to me. I don't really know, but as a chronically ill person, I was saddened
...more
Susan
This was read in my great Read-Everything-Anne-Tyler-Ever-Wrote quest.
Barbara
Typical Tyler...I came away uplifted by the ordinary...
Linda Davidson
This was one of Anne Tyler's earlier books, and she admits that her writing style hadn't yet developed, but I enjoyed the quirky characters. I always feel that her books are so full of dysfunctional quirky characters that the fun is trying to figure out what makes them tick. This story is about the accidental death of a 6 year old girl, and the depressed with drawl experienced by the mother, and the way the community dealt with this and other normal life emotions about grief. Lots of unusual cha ...more
Carmen
The second book written by this prolific author. In this one she displays again her ability to show characters so realistically and yet so individually that you wish you knew someone like that. In this story, there is a young man who lives with his sick brother. At the end of the month, they stretch their budget by taking everything out of the freezer and making a pizza. It serves the dual purpose of defrosting the freezer. It has been years since I had a freezer that needed to be defrosted. As ...more
Anthony
I have to admit, I think that I had missed the meaning of "The Tin Can Tree". Everything I thought that was probably going to happen didn't. I might have to read the novel again to see what I had missed while reading it the first time.

The overall plot was about characters reacting after the death of Janie Rose Pike, a six year old (who appeared to be "special") that died from a tractor accident. There's the Pikes: Lou (mother), Simon (10 year old brother), James (the father), and Joan (the niece
...more
Karl Marx S.T.
One of Ms. Tyler’s earlier novels and certainly not one of her best as she also claims it but that doesn’t mean you can easily pass on this one. Having said that, I find passages which are really funny (though I guess the humor is really intentional to tone down the family drama) and descriptions I haven’t found in any writers I’ve read before. Common situations we usually see everyday but most writers failed to describe beautifully, chose not to or they really don’t have an idea how to make the ...more
Molly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicholas
This novel was much better than her previous, "Back When We Were Grownups", and not just in the style, but the overall feel. James, Joan, Simon, and their families and neighbors all gather at the death of a six-year Janie Pike, Simon's sister. James, a neighbor takes photos, and these seem to expose or catch people at their most awkward or relaxed, which is important. He brings to the novel a sense of disorder, not only in his past, but in his present. With his sick brother, James is forced to l ...more
Maria
I usually love Anne Tyler novels, but this one just seemed a bit lacking for me. The emphasis was so heavy on character development there weren't many plot points, and so I often felt like I was reading the same character descriptions over and over. I did enjoy the way it ended, which felt a bit hopeful and true to the characters.
Diane
I've enjoyed many of Anne Tyler's books over the years. I have to say that this one was not one of my favorites, although I would give it a 3.5 if I could. The book was written many years ago, and that may explain why it lacked some of the writing depth that her more recent books have had. Some of the characters in the novel, especially Ansel, were somewhat irritating to me. The characters of Joan, Mrs. Pike, and the spinster sisters were also in that category. Ansel is such a self absorbed and ...more
Emma
Anne Tyler's books are so relaxing to read. There's no exciting plot hurtling to it's conclusion but instead a slow progression of events unfolding. Most of all I love the characters she creates that I can't help caring about and in that way she reminds me a lot of John Irving.
Marissa Morrison
This was riveting and rang true emotionally. It's about getting stuck in relationship ruts, fleeing relationships, and making choices about how to interact with those you love to develop new paths.
Marilyn
I really like Anne Tyler, so I'm surprised at myself for giving this book such a low rating, but there really wasn't much to like. I found myself reading it just to get it over with so I could read the other book waiting on my shelf. The main problem was there was no plot. It was about a little girl who dies and how those around her react to it, with a half-baked love story thrown in that had absolutely no resolution at the end--no wedding, no breakup, not even a conversation. I know AT's books ...more
Thais
Il punto di forza dei romanzi di Anne Tyler non è mai la trama. E questo non fa eccezione: non succede praticamente niente. L'autrice racconta di come i vari personaggi interagiscono fra loro, affrontando la realtà e riprendosi dopo la morte della piccola Janie Rose, di soli sei anni. Tutto qui.
Ma lo fa in un modo talmente delicato e "umano" che non si può non sentirsi vicini a questi personaggi così teneri, realistici e buffi nella loro quotidianità, nel loro imbarazzo, con le loro piccole mani
...more
Linda Letourneau
Not so hot

I did know one of first books but....I stuck with it. Glad I read her other books first. Onto more!
Kellie
I like this book. This was my second book I read of Anne Tyler, the first being "If Morning will ever comes," I like "The Tin Can Tree" better. The plot of this book kept my interest,though there was sadness and not much of a plot, more like going through everyday life. I like Anne Tyler books there different from other books I've read before, it's the way she writes that make me feel like I know the characters in her book,like I'm right there with them. If feel like I am just in another life fo ...more
Margaret
Not my favorite book of hers, i liked her others much better.
Joseph Spinale
Always enjoy this author, but this was not one of her best
Consuelo Castillo
Such odd-ball characters ...
Emily
I loved this book! The characters in the story are so quirky and interesting and made an otherwise sad story actually delightful to read. I especially loved chapter 5 where the female characters are working in the tobacco fields. Their dialoge was fantastic and I loved it so much that I re-read the chapter twice. I hear that Anne Tyler is famous for her quirky characters, which prompted me to order several other titles by her.
Samm Seals
this is a strange bunch of people ....that said, everyone deals with the death of a vibrant six year old girl in a deeply personal way. I just want to get in there and straighten everyone out. the very small things in the story where the characters were moving through the story seemed pretty strange and make me wonder how much of those tiny elements were personal to the author....I haven't found many of them in other fictions.
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Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. The Beginner's Goodbye is Anne Tyler's nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and ...more
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“Bravest thing about people is how they go on loving mortal beings after finding out there's such a thing as dying.” 15 likes
“Now, when you sit, your blood sort of sits along with you. It don’t go rushing around your brain no more. Consequently, it takes that much more time to get rid of some sad idea in your mind. The process is slowed considerable. Whereas if you hurry your blood up some … There is a sizable amount of people could benefit from what I know.” 0 likes
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