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The Dearly Departed
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The Dearly Departed

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  879 ratings  ·  65 reviews
With her trademark humor and warmth, the beloved author of The Ladies' Man and The Inn at Lake Devine explores going home again; about finding light in the dark corners of one's inhospitable past; about love, golf, and DNA.

Everyone in King George, New Hampshire, loved Margaret Batten, part-time amateur actress, full-time wallflower, and single mother to a now-distant daug
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 13th 2002 by Vintage (first published July 1st 2001)
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I like Elinor Lipman's books. Her writing style is light and insightful and funny and deft, however, this one seemed to fall short of her usual mark as it was a bit too predictable. I loved the characters and loved that it's a nice, easy read...but I find that I really preferred her other books more.

That said, let me defend The Dearly Departed. Her story has a great premise - the daughter of a single mother and the son of a single father learn that their parents have died at the same time (from
Amy Wilder
I really like Elinor Lipman - the NYT reviewer called her the Nora Ephron of authors (so of course I bought the book!) and I have to agree, she's light and insightful and funny and deft.

Her story has a great premise - the daughter of a single mother and the son of a single father learn that their parents have died at the same time (from a gas leak, no apparent foul play). The strange thing is that, arriving to the double funeral, they find they look uncannily alike (they both have wispy, premat
Another book that I have been working on, oh, since August. I found this book when I still worked at KZLA and it looked like something I could resell, so I took it. But of course, I have to read it first.

Sunny returns to the small town in NH that she grew up in after the sudden death of her single mother and her "gentleman friend". A freak gas leak accident that also brings the gentleman friend's son to the town as well. They figure out that the man who died is also Sunny's father, though she di
Maggie Holmes
This audio was delightful. The characters -- except for maybe Joey -- are flawed people who are just trying to get through life. Almost all of them are narcissistic which makes for funny conversations. Not a whole lot of plot, but wonderful characters. I was thinking of this for a book discussion -- I've had requests for humor -- but I'm not sure what we'd talk about. I wish we had found out what happened with the doctor.
Sunny Batten is an unusual heroine, we meet her returning to her mother's cabin in the small town where she was the only female golfer on her high school team and had to hold her own to stay in the game. Lipman writes witty commentary so appropriate for small town politics. I was surprised at how easy to read this book was.
This novel was such a lovely surprise, put on my radar by someone who knows me well and thought I might enjoy it. With crisp dialogue and stream-lined prose every page felt simply enjoyable and pleasant despite the complexity of the subject matter. Most importantly for me, though, humor filled most every page with the author's light touch.
Great read I happened to find in some older books. Characters are terrific, including the town which creates a very small world. Interesting plot too and humor.
A pleasant, no stress read. Wasn't as engaging as View from Penthouse B, but non-the-less, an enjoyable, light read. Interesting characters, I especially enjoyed the character of Margaret Batten. I will certainly read more of Lipman's books.
Sunny's mother dies, she returns to her small hometown. Finds love, rekindles friendships, finds family. Fun read.
Just read this again duing a rapid week of back to back books during some sleepless nights :)

Really enjoy Lipman's characters, have a totaly crusj on Joey the cop.

Also loved the girls v. boys tension around Sunny's golfing, very cute.

Reminded me a lot of my old favorite Anne Tyler, since Lipman does the chapter by chapter switch in narrative -- Carrie, I'm *sure* there's a word for this, inform me!

And Lipman is SOOOO good about her choices for when to drop the f-bomb, it's so effective. Ther
Gwen Gulick
Fun story and characters, not my favorite, though.
Kristin Dow
Lipman has written better. Very dialogue heavy.
Enjoyed. Fun to read.

I love Elinor Lipman but this book fell short.
The characters and story line were great but it seems like the story ended 100 pages (or more) too soon.
It was building up to be something really good but suddenly it ended with hastily tied-up relationships and several stories unfinished.
What happened with Dr. Quimet and his horrible wife?
Why was Fran Pope such a hypocrite and why was the lady who owned the local motel SO hateful?

This book had lots of just ended too soon.
Nancy (essayist)
I'd never read anything by Elinor Lipman before and this didn't encourage me to seek her out again. The writing was engaging enough, but I didn't feel very connected to this story about two people who meet for the first time when their aging parents are found dead. I kept waiting for something more dramatic to happen, but the characters just sort of meandered along. I enjoyed some of the characters and appreciated some of the humor, but there wasn't enough of a story here for me.
This is one of those books that it's hard to describe to people. A young woman at a turning point in her life returns to her home town when her mother dies and learns she has a brother, finds her true love, and resolves past issues. It's much, much better than that description makes it sound. Often light and amusing, but (mostly) true to life as well -- I enjoyed it (although I thought the character who shot the cop got off much too lightly).
Carolyn Crocker
With her characteristically light touch, Elinor Lipman plumbs the mystery that parents pose for their children, when Sunny's mother and Finn's father die together in a freak accident. Carbon monoxide poisoning seems like just the first in a chain of freak accidents that bring people together and drive them apart-- and who can know why? Humor and a happy ending in small-town NH do not preclude wit and wisdom.
Lipman's books look as if they must be 'guilty pleasure' books, but I swear they're good--Lipman has a singular voice and dry sense of humor. They're in a class of books that is hard to come by--maybe not 'literary fiction' but fun: well-written keen studies of people. Though I and others might argue that they are 'literary fiction'! If only the covers didn't scream 'chick lit'...
Jill Gilbert
Not much happens in this breezy book by Elinor Lipman. I would have given it 2 1/2 stars if half stars were available. I did like its portrayal of life in a very small town, and the main character, Sunny Batten, is likeable. So, a pleasant, if uneventful, portrayal of a young woman who returns to her small town to attend her mother's funeral and decides to stay for a while.
Adele Goetz
I sometimes have this fantasy of living in a small town full of quirky, yet erudite people - basically "Northern Exposure" but not in Alaska because I just can't deal with wearing fleece. I know in reality that I would hate living in a small town because I don't like people knowing my business, so instead I read books like this one.
I enjoy most of this authors work, but this wasn't as wonderful as I am used to. I wanted to love it, but only ended up liking it. The inn at lake Devine is one of my favorites!!
Fun and breezy, but not as good as some of her others. This is about a woman who, at her mother's funeral, comes to realize she has a half-brother and that her father is someone other than who she's been told. This theme of mysterious parentage is explored in other Lipman novels as well, if I recall correctly.
I have liked others by Elinor Lipman better--The Inn at Lake Devine, Then She Found Me, and The Ladies' Man--but a novel by Lipman is always a good read. The stories keep you reading to find out what happens, the characters are believable, and Lipman isn't afraid to be a bit snarky.
I love Elinor Lipman's writing style. This book was no exception with an engaging story and relatable characters. The only character that I never really "got" was Fletcher, perhaps he was too much of an exaggerated stereotype. An otherwise great read for a plane ride or a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Entertaining but almost a rather basic story that I felt had the opportunity to be very dramatic and interesting. The author chose a more middle of the line path which I guess is a nice change of pace from melodramas but I just kept expecting something more to happen.
Fun read with witty dialoge and descriptions. However, I'm not sure I liked it well enough to seek out more books by the author without a recommendation. Something, perhaps a little suspense or more tension, was missing.
Pitch perfect and a fun read. Not sure if she should be compared to Austen (as the back of the book suggests), but it is very good. A quick, light, fun read. I'll def be reading more by this author!
Another fun Elinor Lipman book - definitely a chick lit that is an amusing read. I always say this but I love her sense of humor and her style of writing and this was no exception.
Heather Reese
I enjoyed it. But it's not her best.
Half-siblings meet for the first time in their late 20s at their parent's double funeral. They learn a bunch about the parents and themselves. Funny and lighthearted as Lipman always is.
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Elinor Lipman is the author of eight novels about contemporary American society and a collection of short stories. Born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, Lipman graduated from Simmons College where she studied journalism. She lives in Western Massachusetts and Manhattan, and received the New England Book award for fiction in 2001. Her novels Then She Found Me, The Ladies' Man, and The Pursuit o ...more
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