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The Brambles

3.0 of 5 stars 3.00  ·  rating details  ·  495 ratings  ·  70 reviews
This is the story of the Bramble family--Margaret, Max, and Edie--three adult siblings careening through wildly different byways of adult life. Margaret, mother of three, is about to take her ailing father into the tumult and chaos of her already overcrowded home. Edie is young and single, but struggling mightily to anchor her solitary life. Max, newly married, newly a fat ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 12th 2007 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2006)
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minot's style of writing puts you effectively in the mind of the switching narrators, siblings dealing with their own neurosis, but doesn't resolve anything, even with the big reveal at the end. i felt a little bit for the characters, but their trivial reactions when faced with everyday life and even life changing events started to piss me off.
what at first seems like it will be a family melodrama (dying father, shocking secret from the past that will change their lives forever . . . ) is in fact a lyrical, at times hilarious, glimpse at the chaos of family life. best for fans of the domestic novel and depictions of wasp-y east coast life.
Saurora Mirkin
My sister, and any other stay-at-home intellectual mom, should read this book. I am not a stay-at-home mom but I feel that there are situations and scenes in this book that would be best and most appreciated by someone who was. I am enjoying the book, and it deals with a lot more than mommyhood, but it centers on family dynamics and moms would be experts on that. Well-written and observed but slow beginning (put it down several times before pushing through)
Really enjoyed this book, though based on all the other reviews I've read, I may be in the minority on that. The story follows a set of older adult siblings dealing with everyday life following the death of their mother and their father's terminal illness. Sounds like a drag, I know, but it's actually not so dour as all that. Beautifully written from each sibling's point of view, with plenty of funny moments.

What I really loved was the perspective on motherhood. The descriptions showing the tho
I really tried to read this book. Even if I don't like a book I will normally finish it, but I just couldn't. I only made it about 50 pages in before I gave up.

Per the back cover, this book is about a woman who is struggling with the death of her mother. However, every character thinks in riddles and lists. The run on sentences were awful and I got so sick of 17 descriptive terms all separated by commas. I guess it was supposed to be poetic, but it was so hard to follow that I would zone out fo
Minot is a great writer--lots of wonderful lyrical passages in here, especially about motherhood, but the plot was all over the place. And the "conclusion" at the end felt extremely forced. The dialogue felt a bit unrealistic as well. Too clever or something. Still, the characters were engaging and quirky, which kept me reading.
This book was just ok. I only cared for 1 of the 3 main characters. It's about the lives of 3 siblings and their parents, but there just wasn't anything there.
Minot's writing is beautiful. I can see why she's compared to Virginia Woolf. She's poetic and lush and there's beautiful sections that feel as though we can see a mind at work, sort of stream of consciousness, but not exactly. What happened is that I finished Living to Tell by Antonia Nelson and the characters and the plot in this book just weren't as compelling for me. There was a lot twist at the end that didn't feel earned...just too out of nowhere. But I love stories about families, and thi ...more
Aug 09, 2011 Beth added it
I have to admit I'm not completely qualified to review this book because I did not finish the entire copy. I couldn't get past chapter 3.

In my opinion there are basically two different writing styles.

1. People who are blessed with the gift of writing their own thoughts so wonderfully that you feel as if they are your own. Writing done so beautifully that you feel like you can see, feel and touch the characters and settings in a book.


2. College English majors that were well taught on sentence
Bookmarks Magazine

The author is the youngest of the seven siblings in her family and was seven when her mother died. Her father was an alcoholic, and the brothers and sisters had to fend for themselves much of the time. In addition to Eliza Minot's first novel, The Tiny One (1999), which focuses on the loss of a parent, Minot's siblings Susan (Monkeys) and George (The Blue Bowl) have also written about their family crises. The Brambles goes beyond individual coping mechanisms to explore the interactions of a fami

I read about this book in O Magazine. I know, I know. But the plot summary sounded so intriguing, and I thought I would love it. Well, not so much. The first 9/10ths of this book sets up (it turns out, clumsily) a plot twist toward the end. I call it a "plot twist," as if there is much of a plot TO twist. Most of the book is spent introducing the characters, who are fairly interesting, but I never felt very connected to them -- maybe that's part of the problem. I kept waiting and waiting for som ...more
Mona Young
I actually won this book in a local contest. I don't think I'd've picked it up otherwise.

It's a short book about three adult siblings dealing with the death of their mother, their father's terminal illness, and their own lives. Not really much going on.

This book uses a loose plot (with a weird, annoying twist that doesn't do much except give the author a way to end the book) to tell about the lives of the three siblings.

However, the characters and their day-to-day lives are brilliantly written a
The third or fourth book I've read in a row that seems to be less about story and more about skipping around in oddly disconnected moments. The author's habit of not actually writing the big moments of confrontation but only the character's reactions after the fact is irritating and feels very artificial. However - I give this book its stars based on the character or Margaret, and the way the author writes about being a mother - a modern stay at home mother - the dull sameness made tolerable by ...more
Meryl Natchez
One of the best descriptions of life with children--the banality, wonder, and confusion of domestic life I have ever seen. A terrific read.
I agonized a bit over what to say when reviewing The Brambles. It was by no means a bad book. However, something was missing. I would like to be able to explain just what that was but I am still scratching my head trying to figure it out. I think the best way to describe it is that the author hinted at an underlying meaning but failed to flush out her idea. I never felt as though I really knew the characters, kept expecting to turn the page and understand their motivations and emotions. Upon rea ...more
Miranda Shiplett
Not for me. Couldn't get past page 56.
This book was ok at best. Not terrible, but not great. I typically read a book to escape day to day issues, but this book was full of boring day to day stuff. It was very eloquently written, but I found myself struggling to get in to it. It starts with an attention grabbing issue, then never revisits. aside from that, I found that I was bored while reading most of the book, then just as the book was getting good, it ended in an unsatisfying way.
Loved it! It’s about 3 adult siblings, 2 sisters and a brother. Their mother has recently died, and their father is dying of cancer. The one sister, Margaret, is Gretchen Woodke. She has 3 young children, and the author’s portrayal of her is so believable and humorous. Nobody is cheating on spouses in this book. Surprise ending: the siblings find out previously unknown information about their births!
This was one I just picked up off the shelves in the library without knowing much about the author or book - though Minot was a common author last name. It was interestingly written, but very slow. Everything happened in the last few pages, even though you knew exactly what was going to happen. It was worth the read for laying on the dock in the sunshine, however. :)
Emily Malaga
Lost momentum and didn't finish. Skimmed the last third before sleep.
The book is less about plot than it is a character study of a number of family members. In particular, I found the portrayal of the 40-ish mother to be bang on... made me laugh not because it was a "Nanny Diary" style novel but rather because her barbs and insights into motherhood were so on the mark.
A slice of life in which 3 adult siblings exist, the angst they experience at the different stages of their lives and the miscommunication thru it all. As I've always felt -- we all struggle on different levels, emotionally, financially and socially and Minot makes that very apparent.
Nathan Oates
Beautiful writing, which, as Mary Gordon points out on the jacket-blurb, recalls that of Katherine Mansfield (and, in my mind, there is no higher praise). Minot manages to beautifully present the minds of a whole set of siblings and her control of group-scenes is extremely impressive.
I loved this book. As with other books I've read recently, it made me reflect on life. I loved how the grandchildren were so affectionate with their dying grandfather. The book club disagreed with me on this one, sometimes to the extreme. But I really enjoyed it.
Was a good story about 3 adult children, their lives, and dealing with the impending loss of their ill father. Unfortunately for me (and those who like "my" books) the juicy stuff didn't happen until the last 25 pages and then there just wasn't enough of it.
Mar 03, 2007 Andrea rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I did not enjoy this book whatsoever. I could not get past the third chapter. I just could not get into it. There are too many other books on my "want to read" list that I hate wasting my time on books that I absolutely do not find interesting.
Aug 21, 2007 Beth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: If you like looking into contemporary domestic life
Spot on when describing motherhood-of-young-children; engaging and credible visions of relationships among grown siblings. Unnecessary plot twists, but these don't interrupt, too much, all that is good about this depiction family life.
I gave it 2 stars because some of the day to day life descriptions and observations on motherhood were hilarious. It didn't get more than 2 stars because the plot development was awful and the ending really "jumped the shark."
A very quick and easy read which dove into the minds of the characters which I enjoy. Unfortunately, the story didn't present the reader with really in-depth character development so I didn't find the story all that engaging.
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Eliza Minot was born in Beverly, Massachusetts. She lives in New York with her husband. The Tiny One is her first novel.
She is currently at work on her third novel, "American Standard", which will be published by Knopf.
More about Eliza Minot...

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