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The Hole We're in

3.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  776 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
With "The Hole We're In"--a bold, timeless, yet all too timely novel about a troubled American family navigating an even more troubled America--award-winning author and screenwriter, Gabrielle Zevin, delivers a work that places her in the ranks of our shrewdest social observers and top literary talents. Meet the Pomeroys: a church-going family living in a too-red house in ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,233)
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Carol Brandt
This book was a downer with no relief. The characters were not likable and never were able to get themselves out of any of the holes they were in. A stark, pessimistic view of life with no silver lining. Not a beach read. More like a book to get you in the mood to cut yourself.
Mar 15, 2010 Lexi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Impossible to put down. Fantastically well-done look at the varied holes we climb in, climb out of, dig for ourselves, and find ourselves in. This searing family-disfunction/credit-based-society-critique/study of religious fundamentalism left the earth pretty scorched, but breathing, bleeding believable characters kept me turning pages as fast as I could read.
Roger, trying to finish his PhD, leaves his wife Georgia to take care of family finances while he focuses on his dissertation- which he h
Jan 27, 2011 Annie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I think Gabrielle is a great writer and there was a great story in this book populated with compelling characters; I just wish it wasn’t buried underneath the multitude of curse words on the pages. This book was enthralling but a real downer of a story. It is about the Pomeroy family, Roger, the father and a fanatical seventh day adventist, George his long-suffering wife, Victor, the outcast son because he went to Yale and not a religious college, Helen, a daughter with mountains of credit card ...more
It took me ages, since release (I pre-ordered it)till now to read this. And so it seems the world ends today May 21st, 2011 (later in the day I guess, and maybe it is a time zone thing). Good timing to be reading a book about fundamentalist Adventist Christians. Solipsism FTW.

The reason it took me those ages to read this might be because frankly, the blurb and reviews make it sound like a downer. I need to be in the right mood to want to tackle potentially devastating novels, AND often novels ab
The story of a fundamentalist Christian family in which half the members seem to be like Nikki in Big Love--unable to stop shopping or admit to their credit card debt--was surprisingly painful to read. Surprisingly painful because none of the characters were likable, and the family situation was so fraught and tense.

Nevertheless, read it I did because, well, I had to see how it would end. Lamely, as it turns out. The first quarter is by far the best; after that, the author moves forward in six y
Kasa Cotugno
May 20, 2010 Kasa Cotugno rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better than average drama focussing on issues of today and how they impact one family. Difference between this and most books of this type, at least for me, is that the family is fundamental Christian, employing the restrictions imposed by the church. But this does not take away the outside influences affecting everyone these days. The father's decision to complete his education at the age of 42 forces the entire family to uproot from Tennessee to Texas, plunging them deeper and deeper into debt ...more
John Woodward
May 18, 2012 John Woodward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of contemporary fiction
Recommended to John by: Found it at a clearance
This is a book about a family that disintegrates, not because of the members' hedonism, but from their idealism. (Intolerance and bigotry are ideals to those who practice them.) Money and respectability are the main concerns of the parents, and every character must come to terms with these needs. People make choices, and oftentimes are disappointed in themselves afterwards -- but are still stuck with the consequences of those choices. Most of the book takes place in there here-and-now, but the l ...more
Jul 08, 2013 Vicki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time reading this book because I hated all the characters, in particular the parents. It was very bizarre how no one spoke to each other about anything of importance, just hid everything and it seemed like the parents had zero emotional connections to their own children. I did like the last chapter, I hope that turns out not to be our future!
Mar 23, 2016 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked how quickly the story moved along, never bogging down in details, but sharply revealing more and more of each character's motivation and insecurities with the passage of time. The treatment of abortion in the future was a bit on the nose. This is a sad, sad, story of pride and selfishness and I couldn't put it down because at first, I related to the characters. In the end, not so much, but by then, I loved them, or felt I knew them at least. On the surface it is a cautionary tale about s ...more
I must respectfully disagree with the above synopsis by Good Reads as must have obviously been written by the publisher. The only point I would agree with is the “flawed and at times infuriating” although I would say ALWAYS infuriating. There is nothing at all to like about the parents in this family nor do I consider them “relatable”. What I would say is that if you are looking for the “poster” parents for some of the world's worst parents, here is your couple. The husband is a narcissistic idi ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Erica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is very readable. It follows a mostly unpleasant family, ultimately focusing on one daughter who we see over about 20 years. I enjoyed many parts of the story and some of the characters. There was one weird thing though. Right near the end of the book, a character's 15 year old daughter is getting an abortion, her mom arranges it and goes with her. This takes place in the Eastern US in modern times (the mom served time in Iraq). The book is not an alternative history or anything, it's quite ...more
Jul 07, 2012 Nicola rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, bought-used
The Hole We’re In could more accurately be titled People Making Bad Decisions. And, indeed, for the first half of the novel, it’s queasily compelling to read about Gabrielle Zevin’s “typical Middle American family” as they lie to each other and rack up a crushing amount of debt.

However, Hole begins to unravel around the halfway mark. Story threads are introduced and never developed. (In some cases, story conclusions are deliberately obfuscated and I think Zevin thinks she’s being literary when s
Aug 30, 2012 Judith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I never get tired of variations on "terrible parenting" stories. You think you had it bad? The mother in this story maxes out her credit cards and then applies for credit cards in her adult son's name when the offers appear in the mail. Using his identity, she maxes out credit cards in his name too, practically destroying his credit. The dad, a hypocritical holy roller, denies his youngest daughter her rightful inheritance (from the grandmother) because she refuses to go to a church college. Sin
Oct 05, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The shift from 'frenetic train wreck' to 'melancholic unfolding' in the first to second halves saved this book from itself. As sharply written as the first half was, it had the flavor of a satirical one-liner. To have carried it any farther would have been exhausting but not illuminating.

As it was, the more wistful and multi-textured second half caused me to reflect on how much of the horrific parents' evil antics might have stemmed from having had children before they were grown-ups themselves.
Apr 25, 2015 Shetal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read via Audible. Great read overall. Excellent book for book club, especially for discussing themes of excessive religiosity and its impact on family upbringing.
Kay Carman
I chose this book for two reasons - 1) I loved Zevin's yong adult novel, Elsewhere, and 2) the review mentioned a religious aspect. In the Publishers Weekly" review, it said, "...she [Zevin] gives readers terrific insights into the problems of adult children removing themselves from the influence of parents and establishes herself as an astute chronicler of the way we spend now..."

Roger and Georgia Pomeroy are at odds with who they purport and appear to be. Roger is iexperiencing a mid-life cris
I adored The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, so I wanted to read something else by Gabrielle Zevin. In some ways The Hole We're In reminded me of A.J. Fikry: Zevin's easy to read style, the way time slows or speeds during parts of the novel. In other ways, the two couldn't be more different: setting, characters, tone.

The Hole We're In tells the story of the Pomeroy family. Pastor Dad decides at age forty to return to school for his PhD. Mother George works temp jobs to support the family whilst dad
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from James

Not Zevin's best book (it's hard to compete against The Storied Life of AJ Fikry!), but still pretty good. The story follows one family, the Pomeroys, through several years and alternates between the points-of-view of mostly Patsy and her parents, Roger and Georgia. Patsy is the star here, the one you feel can still become something...she can dig herself out. Although major events happen to the others, you get the sense that their courses are set.

The title of the book suggests the seri
Mar 12, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took this book out of my mailbox this morning, and finished it this evening. It's that compelling. It's about family, hypocrisy, debt, appearances, secrets, love, shame, and holes. Not all of the characters are likeable, but all of them (and their trajectories) are certainly true to life. I will certainly be thinking about this book for a while.
This is a really interesting book, really more of a social satire. A pretty damning look at the dark side of evangelical, debt-ridden, and greedy American culture. All of the characters are both truly awful while also very compelling.
Mar 05, 2015 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars... I really enjoyed this book for book was an easy read that I couldn't put down. Am looking forward to discussing it in book club!
May 22, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The two other Zevin books were on the light side, playful and entertaining. This one is altogether more dense and rewarding, if more traditionally structured. A serious, GOOD novel. Feels like life in these United States in recent years. Publishers Weekly called it "The Corrections for our recessionary times" and it was indeed that. In fact, it was better than The Corrections, which was too long and not as well edited. I also very much appreciated how she took on southern Christian characters in ...more
s e n t i m e n t a l i t i e s olittlebear
Even though I'd find it impossible to like Pastor Dad, each and every character was thoroughly portrayed and enjoyable to read about. There was no chapter I began reading and wanted to skip because the teller was a bore.
Having said that nothing outstanding happens; it's life portrayed and well described. There are large time gaps and you don't always find out how a situation occurred or if it will resolve, yet it takes nothing away from the story.
The ending doesn't feel any more like an ending t
May 18, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book following The Storied Life of AJ Fickry by the same author (which I LOVED). I had high hopes for this to be just as lovable and was a little disappointed. That said, the characters were well developed and the story was both believable and the right amount of absurd. It is a great book club book and my book club found so much to discuss, from religion, to the American dream, to parenting, and more. In summary, this is well written, an easy read, and I guarantee you will have many ...more
This is a story of a family who've gotten themselves into the kind of debt a person would have nightmares about.

I only read a quarter of the way in to this novel because it was both frustrating and depressing me. It wasn't that it was poorly written or the characters not being developed, but that I couldn't stand them and wanted to knock their heads together. Couple all that with the fact I've been in a bit of a reading slump, I felt it best not to waste time on books that didn't capture my ima
Jul 08, 2016 Anita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I truly have enjoyed every Gabrielle Zevin book I have read, this one included due to her insights into human nature in her writing. The novel concerns itself with the middle class American Pomeroy family who hide a secret that they are drowning in debt. The theme of materialism became strikingly evident early on in the novel. The book is part family drama, because it shifts from present day to the past and between characters, and part moral tale not to fall into materialistic culture.
The urge
Larry Buhl
Jan 17, 2011 Larry Buhl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's about how the (financial) sins of our fathers (and mothers)are visited (unequally) on the children. This book covers about three decades (the last one in the future) of the Pomeroy family. Both elder Pomeroys are spectacularly bad parents. There are no physical beatings. But the mother screws two of her siblings in order to pay for the hilariously over-the-top wedding of one daughter. And the father, a holier-than-thou evangelical Christian school administrator-turned-pastor casts out one d ...more
Although it has some flaws, The Hole We're In is one of the most engrossing books I've read in awhile. Although a novel, it is a biting social commentary on the "holes" that are dug for us by our parents and that we dig for ourselves in modern society. Roger, the patriarch of the family, indulges his mid-life fantasy to see "what might have been." He leaves his job as an assistant principal at a fundamentalist Christian school and uproots his family to Texas so that he can pursue a doctorate whi ...more
Feb 23, 2010 edh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
The decisions we make to pursue or maintain an image affect our entire lives, and the lives of our children. Sure, it's a quick way to describe Zevin's new book but the devil sure is in the details... in the late 90s, Pomeroy family scion Roger leaves a comfortable school admin position to go back to college, where he swiftly loses his appetite for learning and begins an affair with his major professor. Wife Georgia is stricken by oldest daughter Helen's demands for a lavish wedding, mounting cr ...more
Nov 20, 2010 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One typical American family implodes. Financially. Emotionally. Completely. Not so much a comedy of errors as a tragedy of them. Satire so honed and sharp, it draws blood.

Besides a critique on blind religious faith, I think the more profound question running through this compact, efficient novel is can the children of bad parenting break the cycle and become worthwhile parents themselves?

One of the things I liked most about this work is that despite it's bad-to-worse-to-worst plot, none of the
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Gabrielle Zevin is the New York Times Best Selling author of eight novels. For adults: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (2014), The Hole We’re In (2010), and Margarettown (2005). For young adults: Elsewhere (2005), Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (2007), and the three books in the Anya Balanchine series, All These Things I’ve Done (2011), Because It Is My Blood (2012), and In the Age of Love and Choco ...more
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“It is lucky, she thinks, that we don’t feel all the love inside us every moment. We couldn’t breathe or walk or eat. It is lucky that it just flares up every now and again then resolves itself into a manageable dormancy.” 2 likes
“You spend your whole life trying to get out of holes. The hole you’re born into because of who your parents are. The hole you dig yourself trying to get out of that first hole. The hole your children are born into is the saddest hole of all. It occurs to her that she has spent most of her life digging herself out of or into one hole or another. And then, in the end, they just lower you into the ground anyway. She whispers a question, kind of like a prayer, if she were the praying sort, to no one in particular, “How in the world do you ever get out?” 2 likes
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