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And Sometimes Why

2.91  ·  Rating Details ·  346 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
From a contributing editor for Vogue, a pitch-perfect, funny, and poignant novel about the joy and heartache of how deeply one person's life can affect so many others.

With wit and warmth, first novel And Sometimes Why captures the fragile rhythm and unpredictable drama of family life. When Sophia and Darius say good- bye to their teenage daughters one unremarkable mornin
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 14th 2008 by Putnam Adult (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Apr 12, 2012 Deb rated it liked it
Ok, I enjoyed the story, but what the heck?? Did Rebecca Johnson get tired of writing the book or what? I had to double check to see if I didn't download the final CD of the audiobook. but no, that's all there is. the book ends almost in the middle of a tho
Jan 31, 2011 Monica rated it did not like it
This novel started out with a promising premise: The youngest daughter (Helen) of the McMartin family is severely injured in a motorcycle accident and is in a coma. Her boyfriend, who only her sister (Miranda) and friends know about, is killed in the accident. The accident is the boyfriend's fault, although he hits another car, which just so happens to be driven by Harry Harlow, the host of a ridiculously popular game show.

As the story progresses, we see the struggles that the family and Harry
Sep 02, 2009 Roberta rated it it was ok
Like Diane, I won this book in an online contest. It took me a long time to finally get around to reading it. Even though I KNOW it's an uncorrected proof, I still find myself getting distracted. I'm finding the language to be unnecessarily vulgar. If an author is vulgar throughout, I usually figure that means (s)he has a limited vocabulary and very little to say. In this book, the profanity seems to be totally random and gratuitous. I don't know why it bothers me so much. Rebecca Johnson swings ...more
Mar 05, 2008 Susan rated it it was ok
A downer from start to finish, yet another family falls to pieces when one daughter is in a tragic accident. Lifetime movie quality, I have no patience for this.
Sarah Beth
Jul 08, 2012 Sarah Beth rated it really liked it
Of all the books I've read & reviewed on Goodreads, I probably disagree with the average rating of this one (less than 3 stars!) the most. After glancing at a few reviews and the rating on Goodreads, I suspected that I would not be impressed by this book, and would maybe put it in my stack to donate without even finishing it. Maybe part of it was going in with low expectations, but I really enjoyed this book.

And Sometimes Why is about the McMartin family - husband and wife Sophia and Darius,
Rachael Quinn
Feb 29, 2016 Rachael Quinn rated it really liked it
I'm sure that this book ended up on my list because I came across it years ago while working the circulation desk and the title amused me. Mostly because I know it's been on my list for years and there is another book by the same name on my list. It's not the kind of book that I ever sought out. Maybe I read a review in Vogue. That's when I would have subscribed and Johnson was a contributing editor and may have scored a little book review. I've meant to get to it forever and have checked it out ...more
Paige Bradish
Feb 01, 2013 Paige Bradish rated it really liked it
And Sometimes Why has been on my bookshelf for quite sometime and this year I am participating in the TBR Pile Challenge so this will help me with that. This is also my honest review.

This is the story of two "families" going through a really tough time. We meet Sophia and her family who consists of her husband Darious and two daughters Miranda, and Helen. The other family is actor Harry Harlow and his wife Catherine. I do not want to spoil the book for anyways so I will say this, somehow these t
Sep 30, 2013 Coleen rated it liked it
This is basically the story of a teenaged girl who is involved in a road accident, ends up in a coma, and then the family and other assorted characters are left to muddle through with the uncertainties associated with such a tragedy.

I liked the variety of characters and the varied storylines & points of view of those surrounding "the accident", but the problem was that the book as a whole was too disjointed. Some of the characters were quite interesting, but they really had nothing to do wi
Jan 30, 2009 Diane rated it it was ok
I recently read the article "Holding on to Luke" that the author, Rebecca Johnson, wrote for the New York Times. It had me in tears to read of that journey and the painful end of a life. I read the article because I had won her book (an unedited copy)in an online contest and wanted to know more about her.

While I loved her truthful article on the loss of her son, I did not love this book. For me, it was just too much all over the place. Characters popped up and disappeared shortly after or were
Nov 30, 2012 Pam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've found that I thoroughly enjoy many first novels but this one didn't make the cut. There was nothing wrong with it except that it really was just rather a mishmash about a family to which a tragedy happens and then what develops from there. Have read many of these types of stories and most were more interesting than this one. Luckily it was a quick read because I really did not like or care about any of the characters.
One thing that did stand out for me was on page 277 when Sophia (the mothe
Apr 09, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All my friends
I never heard of Rebecca Johnson before, and it turns out she's a former New Yorker columnist and this is her first novel. I picked the book up because the Pottstown Library didn't have any of the 7 or so books I was looking for. It was on the new books shelf. I judged a book by its cover...and blurb. This time I picked a winner.

It was clever, unexpected, and a little sad. it tells the story of several different people in L.A. and how all of their lives are affected/intertwined because of a trag
Dec 31, 2011 Monica rated it liked it
I thought this book was interesting. This book was about a family and their family's drama. In addition breakfast together was mandatory in the McMartian family. Besides that they have not idea how permanently their family will be affected by a decision made around the breakfast table one morning. However when Sophia and Darius say goodbye to their teenage daughters one average morning. They don't ever think that because of the choice they made at the table that one of there daughters will have ...more
May 04, 2010 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One thought struck me near the end of the book. Sophia McMartin, after a tragic accident happens to her family and has strained her marriage, has moved to New York to deal with the issue on her own. She has a funny encounter and tries calling her husband in LA to share the story with him. He is not at home to answer the phone, but she has this thought: "Maybe that was the real problem with being so alone in the world, if there's nobody to share the small stories, the series of unconnected moment ...more
Lauren Clarke-mason
Perhaps I'd rate this one a 2.5-2.75. I was left wondering why. Why bring up and devote a chapter or two to a character that isn't fully developed dangling at the end like a participle or a chad? Why leave an unsatisfying ending on a story about closure? Why spend so many pages on flashbacks and parenthetical observations? The deeper issues of love, marriage, and loss are interesting and kept me reading. I shed a tear or two. I chuckled. Overall, it was not the same book I started reading becaus ...more
Nov 20, 2008 Kelly rated it liked it
This was a book that I picked up at the library with no previous knowledge of the author. It is a story of a family and a talk show host and a cameraman and how their lives intersect, entwine and collide. The character of the mother was very interesting to me, I found her observations truthful and painful. There have been some times in my life when I felt so connected to the path that I was on and other times when I just feel lost. It is nice to be reminded that all of those feelings lead you to ...more
Jun 05, 2016 Susan rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
It was fine, except while the author thought there was a plot, there kind of wasn't? Not really. The GoodReads review says this novel is 'poignant', but I don't know. Maybe with a better editor.

A family is happy in Los Angeles, and then one of the teenage girls gets on a motorcycle with her boyfriend, he crashes the motorcycle, she ends up in a coma, and the family has to deal with it.

But it's not that well-written, trust me.
Mar 25, 2008 Tara rated it it was ok
Shelves: recently-read
meh. I read this in about a day and a half when I was sick with the flu... it was an easy and moderately entertaining read, not bad but certainly not terrific. I might even venture to say that it was a bit sappy and contrived for my taste. but then again, I was feverish so who knows what was really going on.
also, it wasn't particularly memorable... I'm having a difficult time even remembering the plot and I only read it two weeks ago. don't bother.
Jan 08, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: personal-reading
This book made me think very much of Jodi Picoult's books in how it dealt with tough issues and presented multiple perspectives on those issues. My sister works with brain injured patients, and it really tugged at my emotions for those reasons as I considered what I know intellectually and the type of decision I would have to make emotionally if a loved one were brain injured.

It is a quick and easy read that will make you think.
Apr 09, 2008 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, kindle
Well written but ultimately - soap opera shallow. Interesting characters are ignored, relatively dull ones focused on. I don't feel like at the end we know MORE about the family, or how they've changed or if they've changed at all.

At the same time, as harshly as I sound condemning this book - it wasn't a bad book. I enjoyed reading it. I just can't recommend it as more than a decent book to pass the time.
Martha Newman
Mar 05, 2013 Martha Newman rated it really liked it
This was a good book--it told the tale of the impact of a devastating accident (a 16-yr old is rendered comatose) on the family and friends of those around her. I went through a similar experience when my eldest son was paralyzed at 16 and all of these responses ring true. What I liked best about the book is that the story was told in an unsentimental way--we feel the sadness without having been made to feel maudlin about it.
Sep 17, 2008 Laura rated it it was ok
Not a bad book, but way too many secondary plotlines that ultimately went nowhere. Also a strangely truncated(and somewhat hard to believe) ending. You know how in soap operas people are also driving across town to confront people? Same thing here--one character flies to NY from CA to deliver a crucial piece of information two days after the fact, when any ordinary person would have picked up the phone.
Apr 09, 2009 Ashley rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
I didn't really like this book. I found the story to be quite ordinary and predictable, and the characters were unlikable. There were all these scenes that were supposed to be significant, but then ended up being confusing and trite. The ending was lame, and offered no closure to the many story lines that had opened up and never been addressed again.
Jan 21, 2009 Mel rated it it was ok
Interesting book but there were at least two minor characters who really didn't contribute much to the story; namely, Misty Moon and the videographer/film director. I think the story would have flowed more if their characters were diminished and more attention was given to Miranda, or Darius - who we really never got to know except through the eyes of his wife.
Jul 02, 2014 Kristiana rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, 2014
This had a lot of elements I usually enjoy in books, but I didn't really connect with it on a big level. If I had begun the book viewing it as more interlocking stories, than regular fiction, I might have enjoyed it more. It took the whole of the novel to eventually feel for the characters. I did eventually feel a bit for each of them, but none of them really stand out as full characters.
Feb 02, 2009 Lyn rated it really liked it
The writing really flowed and I became readily involved in the characters of this book, one of those where once I got started it was hard to put down. Even though the plot involves some sadness, it felt beautiful and quite real. I really enjoyed how the characters did not behave in stereotypical ways, but rather in unique and human ways.
Abby Sominski
May 01, 2008 Abby Sominski rated it it was ok
There were several things I disliked about this book:
1. too many characters few of which are important
2. too long (over 300 pages)
3. the last word of the book is 'awesome'
4. the too many characters aren't believably protrayed and a couple aren't developed at all although you are supposed to care what happens to them
Sep 20, 2013 Helene rated it really liked it
This novel follows a loosely linked cast of characters in the aftermath of an unthinkably silly accident. There is no closure, only the effect of the event on several lives. The characters are not all appealing, but they are very real. Good book.
Jun 01, 2010 Michelle rated it liked it
an interesting read, The story of what happens when one of their teenaged daughters gets inured in a otorcycle accident and is in a coma. I quite enoyed following how each charater experienced it differently
Jan 08, 2009 Cindy rated it it was ok
The book was OK. It definitely could have ended better. I kept looking for the rest of the chapters at the end, or an epilogue. I kept wondering why she introduced random characters, and how they were going to come together. She didn't wrap it up very well.
Jun 14, 2016 Ashley marked it as to-read
Own in hardback.

FS: "Breakfast together was mandatory in the McMartin Family."

LS: "But if you're in there and all you have is your past to think about, well, you're probably kind of lucky, because you were just awesome."
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