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The Hole We're In
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The Hole We're In

3.15 of 5 stars 3.15  ·  rating details  ·  639 ratings  ·  167 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
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Published (first published January 1st 2010)
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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
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
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
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.
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!
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
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
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

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
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.
John Woodward
May 18, 2012 John Woodward rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Becky Weaver
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.
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!
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
Larry Buhl
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
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
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
I want to note how difficult it is to write a bad review about one of your most favorite authors. I love her work, her interviews, her blog, her Facebook posts, she's just an interesting person. Most of her stories fall into the realm of favorite books ever, for me. This though..

I feel like 3-stars is extremely generous of a rating. This book had a decent first half buildup and then fell flat on its face with a disappointing lack of character or plot "development".

The timeline is wonky, often ju
I've never read any of Zevin's YA books, but for some reason I snagged this novel from the adult shelves. Perhaps because the focus is money and the hole people dig themselves into with bad decisions and nearly endless credit...and I've been feeling rather broke these days, so it resonated. However, the novel is not merely a polemic about the downfalls of a credit-based society. It is a family tale that extends over years and takes in several generations, with all of the personalities, grudges, ...more
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What would modern literature by without dysfunctional families? Gabrielle Zevin introduces us to the Pomeroys, and they rock the Richter scale when it comes to being absolutely, totally screwed up.

First, there’s good old dad, Roger – a fundamental Christian hypocrite who breaks half the Commandments after “praying on it.” Then there’s mom, Georgia, a disengaged narcissist who sacrifices her own adult children to deal with her crippling debt. And then there’s Vinnie, Helen, and Patsy. The focus i
The Hole We're In is the story of a family headed by a deeply religious man who goes through life seemingly blind to the needs and lives of his own wife and three children.Zevin’s first novel for adult readers spotlights many of the hot topics from today’s news and culture.

After a couple of successful YA novels, Zevin must’ve been full of ideas for an adult novel and she decided to put all of them in one book. There is a lot to talk about here, but make sure you read this book before you pick it
I didn't know what to think of this book, at first. Thus far, I've only read the author's Elsewhere, which I enjoyed and which is what prompted me to snag the rest of her titles from the library. I opened this one up at random, and the only indication it was, indeed, the same author (other than the name on the cover) was that it reminded me of how I felt about Elsewhere in the beginning. A definite "I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get through this if the rest of it is as dull as the beginni ...more
The average American family has about $8,000 in credit card debt. The Pomeroy's in Gabrielle Zevin's The Hole We're In, unfortunately, are anything but average. Roger, an assistant principal at a Christian high school, leaves his job to pursue a PhD, leaving his wife George (Georgia) to take care the family financially. Roger's meager salary, only $5,000 for the year, combined with George's hourly wage at a temp. job, causes their debt to escalate to extremes. With their daughter Helen's impendi ...more
Great book. I enjoyed it a lot. I am a huge Zevin fan -- I adore ELSEWHERE, and I'd rank it up with my favourite Young Adult novels. MEMOIRS OF A TEENAGE AMNESIAC was a blip in my opinion, but, God, Zevin has such raw talent for both writing and crafting a story that I just block that out.

Good stuff? The characters were extremely compelling. Roger was one of the most unsympathetic assholes ever to get into print (outside of psychopaths/serial killers), but he was incredibly human and fascinating
Gabrielle Zevin's "The Hole We're In" was not what I expected. I stopped what I was doing in order to spend an hour and a half finishing the novel after getting through almost 65 pages in the waiting room of my doctor's office; the book will definitely grab you, draw you in, and won't let you go until the last page is turned.

"The Hole We're In" follows the Pomeroy family over approximately 25 years. The book starts out with Georgia (George) Pomeroy getting credit cards in the names of two of he
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Gabrielle Zevin has published six novels. Her debut, Margarettown, was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program. The Hole We’re In was on Entertainment Weekly's Must List and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Entertainment Weekly wrote, "Every day newspaper articles chronicle families battered by the recession, circling the drain in unemployment and debt or scra ...more
More about Gabrielle Zevin...
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry Elsewhere Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1) Because It Is My Blood (Birthright, #2)

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“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?” 1 likes
“It is lucky, she thinks, that we don’t feel all the love inside us every moment.” 0 likes
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