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Family and Other Accidents: A Novel

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  396 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Separated by a decade and 200 points on their SAT scores, Jack and Connor Reed have a life in the Cleveland suburbs held together by spit and Chinese takeout. With his self-absorbed, over-the-hill parents dead by his twenty-fifth birthday, Jack has abandoned his own plans and returned to his parents’ house where he works marathon hours at his late father’s law firm, beds y ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Eggs by Jerry SpinelliScrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad BarkleyBest Food Writing 2013 by Holly HughesThumped by Megan McCaffertyFamily and Other Accidents by Shari Goldhagen
Eggs on the Cover
5th out of 37 books — 3 voters
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn MacklerCourage and Other Demons by Jill DaughertyLove Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly KaraliusSleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups by Stephanie ClarksonFamily and Other Accidents by Shari Goldhagen
Titles: Noun, Noun, and Other Nouns
5th out of 72 books — 10 voters

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Community Reviews

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This is a great character driven novel about 2 brothers, Jack and Connor Reed whose parents die within a few years of one another leaving 25 year old Jack as 15 year old Connor's legal guardian.

The book starts with Connor at 17 and Jack at 27 and tells the story of their lives right up until Connor's 40th birthday party.

The characters are flawed, making them that much more human and that much more likable. It's an excellent look into the ties of family that bind us and how those binds sometimes
Stacey Palevsky
The book's narrative is incredibly unique. It's all third-person, but the plot unfolds through the eyes of numerous characters. I loved Jack and Connor, the brothers at the center of the storm, and how the author shared with readers 25 years of their lives. A fast and absorbing read, even though nothing really happens - there is no clear story arc, no conflict-climax-resolution in this book. It's very character-driven. My only complaint is that the ending was sort of lame. Otherwise, though, a b ...more
This book surprised me. It's not that anything THAT exciting happens to the lives of these two brothers and their families, but that's the loveliness and brilliance of this writing. It's beautiful in the mundane topics and every day occurances. Goldhagen has a keen eye for small details that show how life happens in ways we don't expect, and how unexpected things happen that bring us to a place we are now. At it's core it's about a relationship between brothers, but it ends up being a study in t ...more
I recently read the author's latest book and I was so sad to let those characters I was thrilled to find out she had a previous novel. I wasn't disappointed. Shari Goldhagen is great at giving depth to the stereotypical people we all know (and love) in life-- the overachieving wife, the man-boy who lost his parents too young, the guy who can't commit-- allowing you to understand not only the people in the story but also maybe the people you encounter every day. I also love her ability to ...more
A unique style of writing--some places where the author slows down and spends quality time with her characters (real people you will enjoy spending time with) and other places where she speeds through and skips entire years of their lives. I was intrigued by this in terms of craft.
I've recommended this one to others and they've found it probably is, but a classic coming-of-age story that I realize the older I get becomes more and more realistic. Plus told from many characters' perspectives, which I enjoy.
Die Geschichte der beiden sehr unterschiedlichen Brüder Jack und Connor, deren Leben man über einen Zeitraum von ca. 25 Jahren begleitet. Dabei geht es um Familie, Liebe, Zusammenhalt, aber auch um Trauer, Verlust und Tränen.
Mich hat dieses Buch sehr berührt – die Entwicklung der beiden Brüder, erst ihr gemeinsamer Lebensweg nach dem Tod der Eltern, dann die unabhängige Entwicklung voneinander in ihren eigenen Liebesbeziehungen und mit unterschiedlichen Lebenszielen – bis sich am Ende der Kreis
When their parents die within a few years of each other, Jack Reed is forced to take legal guardianship of his ten-year-junior brother Connor. The story traces these two brothers from their early years together, when Jack, 25, was the acting parent for his 15 year-old brother, through the moments that lead them both into their twilight years. Along with the women who become intertwined with their lives, Mona and Laine, the brothers work through hatred, betrayal, disappointment, anger, frustratio ...more
Robin Nicholas
This a book that grew on me. Jack and Conner are brothers, 10 years apart. When Jack is 25 and Conner is 15 they are left to fend for themselves when their mother dies 8 years after their father has died. Jack has to take on the roll of caregiver/parent/brother to Conner. Jack is a workaholic, womanizer who really has no time or know-how to take on this role, which basically leaves Conner on his own. The story follows their lives over the next 25 years. The author has an interesting style which ...more
This book was truly incredible. I must admit that I had started this book several months ago, but was not in the right emotional mind frame. This is the kind of book that makes you question the relationships that you have in your life. It was nothing short of thought provoking. The journey with the characters almost felt therapeutic and I am saddened to realize that I will never know if Jack and Mona got back together or if Connor lived a long life. This was a very insightful recommendation from ...more
Mai Ling
I was tempted to give this book five stars because I liked it that much, but I feel like I should save that high mark for literary masterpieces. This isn't a masterpiece, but it's such an interesting portrait of two brothers, with each chapter a snapshot of their lives from adolescence into adulthood. Maybe it's because they seem so real and so flawed. Apparently this book isn't very widely liked, so I don't know if I would recommend it to anybody, but I LOVED it!
This is not my usual fare and I can't remember how I heard about it but I'm delighted I did. Connor is a pre-teen when his mother dies and a teenager when his father dies. It's left to his brother, Jack, 10 years his senior to stand in as his family. Goldhagen chronicles the ups and downs of this relationship over several decades in fascinating chapters that nearly stand on their own as short stories. It's really kind of fascinating to read.
I really liked the flow of this book but didn't like the amount of profanity
Mary P.
I immediately liked this book because of all the Cleveland references. I also liked and cared about the characters. However, what I didn't like what how years of time were skipped over with only a mere sentence to explain the passage of time. I really wanted to know what happened to the characters when I finished the book.
Jul 26, 2007 Lucy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2007
i picked this book off the shelf without a recommendation and it was actually good! that hasn't happened in a while. it's about two brothers and told alternately from each of their perspectives as they grow up (or not), starting from when their mother dies and the elder brother moves home to take care of the younger.
Daphne Atkeson
A story of two brothers orphaned when one was 15, the other 25 or so, through 2 decades. Not quite the power of other family dramas I've praised, since one is emotionally stunted, unable to share love, but tender and powerful to the end. Brilliant writing, but almost so understated as to feel flat.
There's something about the way Shari Goldhagen writes and the characters she creates and the random jumps in time she navigates that I just love. This didn't seem as polished as "In Some Other World, Maybe" but it was still enjoyable and page-turning and emotionally raw.
Kathryn it in about 2 days. i was surprised this was written by a female author as it told the story of 2 brothers. i liked that it was a story of 25 years of their lives and not just a little snippet...made the read quicker and more interesting
Jen Courtright
I loved this book. I found it easy to relate to even when the story was from the male perspective. Made me reflect on my own relationships with the people in my family and how they change over time. Poetic and real, worth reading.
This book was very well written and I enjoyed getting to know the characters from through the chapters that they each narrated. I also liked that the author covered a long timeline - we could see the characters mature and develop.
A surprising little book! I could have done without some of the sexual references but I was very intrigued by the relationship of the brothers. That is a subject so seldom dealt with in shorter novels.
Good Read!
Oct 30, 2007 Jamie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of literary fiction, anyone with a family
True, Shari is my friend, but I'm being honest when I say that her quiet, beautiful writing amazes me. This was a lovely book -- nuanced and subtle and touching when you least expect it.
I really enjoyed this book--it was well written without being overwritten, and the characters were as flawed as they come but still likeable and empathetic. A very good read.
Simple yet engaging writing combined with a heartwarming story that spans decades.

It's one of those books you won't be able to put down!
I loved the writing style in this book. In the words of Ann, it "engaged me" throughout. Will be looking for other books by Goldhagen.
Dave 25
I really loved this book. It follows a couple of brothers who lose their parents. It's a quick read, and a great story.
A wonderfully crafted story about second chances. The prose reads like poetry.
Lorie Eckert
Scotty Eck went to Sunday School with the author!!
Aug 05, 2007 Betta rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sexy
this book makes you want to go make out with someone.
This book is good for anyone from Cleveland ;)
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After serious pursuits of literature at Northwestern (BSJ) and Ohio State (MFA), Shari Goldhagen discovered she had a knack for sifting through celebrity trash and worked as a gossip writer for publications including The National Enquirer, Us Weekly, and Life & Style Weekly. And her articles on pop culture, travel and relationships have appeared everywhere from Cosmopolitan to Penthouse. She h ...more
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“That part won't be hard at all; It's easy to love something when you know it's only for a finite amount of time.” 0 likes
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