Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine: A Novel
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Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine: A Novel

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  625 ratings  ·  91 reviews
In 1969, as Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paints are splashing the latest antiwar slogans, three friends find love. Suzanne, a poet, lives in a Maine beach house awaiting the birth of a child she will call Sparrow. Claudia, who weds a farmer during college, plans to raise three strong sons. Elizabeth and her husband marry, organize protests, and try to...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published May 17th 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1987)
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Diane
Love Ann Hood's writing. This book was a bit too predictable though. It's about three college friends in the sixties and it explores the paths they choose after college. The book shifted from past to present a lot and it was a bit unsettling for me.
Laurel-Rain
"Brilliant....[The Vietnam era] is vividly captured by Ann Hood."--New York Times Book Review

In 1969, as Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paints are splashing the latest antiwar slogans, three friends find love. Suzanne, a poet, lives in a Maine beach house awaiting the birth of a child she will call Sparrow. Claudia, who weds a farmer during college, plans to raise three strong sons. Elizabeth and her husband marry, organize protests, and try to rear two children with their hi...more
Sarah Sammis
In an interview on Suite 101, Ann Hood describes writing her debut novel, Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine long hand during long flights. She was working at the time as a flight attendant. Knowing the circumstances of how the book explains for me the dominant theme of the book: the resurfacing of memories, good and bad in a time of personal reflection.

The novel begins with Sparrow, a teenager, wanting to know about her father. To her, he is only a man in faded photograph. She wants to meet him....more
Arlene
I love Ann Hood's writing but this novel did not appeal to me. I finished it but wondered what exactly was the point of this novel. Friendship gone awry? Lost love? I was aggravated that I wasted two days reading this book.
Nicole
Beautifully written, even if it did leave me feeling a little disappointed, a little left out on a limb. I was so taken in, entranced by Claudia, Elizabeth, Suzanne and their families, following their hopes, dreams and tribulations from the 60's all the way through to the mid 80's. But then the book just seemed to end. And I suppose each of their stories was brought to a point of closure - Claudia leaves, Henry gets his girl, Rebekah realizes that her life is good, Elizabeth goes into remission,...more
Julie Barrett
Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine by Ann Hood
3 women who grew up in the late 60's their children are now of age in the 80's.
Starts off with Sparrow (Susan) and her mother Susanne who is constantly asking about her real father, pictures, lifestyle etc.
Rebecca has no friends and she thinks it's because of her big nose, she needs a nose job.
Story also follows her parents and the diagnosis of cancer.
Claudia and Simon and many other combinations of people. Confusing at times but a good story.
Also goes...more
Deb
Awkward ending, just dropped off. Truly enjoyed her newest, The Knitting Circle but forget this one--disappointing
Bonnie
Three girls meet at college in 1969 during the hippie movement and become such good friends that they decide to live together on a large farm in Maine. By 1985, their lives have changed. Suzanne has given birth to a daughter rejected by the father for his private life of writing poetry, Claudia married marries a farmer and has three boys, Elizabeth marries Howard and they start a pottery business.

Tragedy strikes Claudia when her eldest son drowns and she never recovers and Elizabeth has cancer....more
Dana
I just reread this, though now I think, perhaps, in retrospect, that I had not read it 25 years ago. I would have remembered it . Nothing was at all familiar to me while I read this one yesterday. I always remember something about all the books I have read in my lifetime. I loved the setting of this book, the time and place (from the 1960's to the mid 1980's). I remember that culture, the early days of women finding they could exercise the same rights as men, could make it on their own, could fi...more
N.T.
May 06, 2010 N.T. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wonderers, parents, kids
I started and finished this Sunday and its still sitting with me.

There are three main characters -- one clinging to the past, one desperate and thinking only of the future, and one quite in the present.

The book goes back and forth between 1985 and the late 1960s and opens with the perspective of the three children of each of the women above. There isn't a hierachy of anything here, as adult and child seem parallel in this story -- particularly as it bounces back to a similar time in the parents'...more
Corinne
I discovered Ann Hood by accident a few years ago and since then, I haven't read a thing by her that I don't love. She's a literary master. Her work is always dark and it always stays with me. This novel, her debut, was no exception. She writes of three friends in the late sixties and does clever things with plot, showing the reader the same three characters, their children, and the consequences of their choices in the 1980s. She skips back and forth from the 60s to the 80s seamlessly. The novel...more
Jennifer
This was a very fast, enjoyable read. It reminded me of the young adult novels I read in the 80s when I was a teenager. Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine tells the story of 3 women who became friends during the late 60s when they were in college and their children, through 70s to 1985. The three were very close and shared everything for a short time and then go their seperate ways, each following a different path and achieving their dreams in different ways with different success. I could relate...more
Jessica
Being a lover of Maine, I was super excited about this book. It definitely left me wanting much more. First, it really didn't focus on Maine at all, which the title would imply. Second, the characters while fun in their own right, sharing a charming friendship, were just not developed as fully as I would have liked.

The book tells of these three women's present day situation, and their college life/best friendship which bonds them together, and for one of them was the catalyst in tearing them ap...more
Alyssa
OK, so I had to buy this because I was in Maine--and it looked like a quick--and appropo--read. I think its funny (but not surprising) that Mitzi and I were both reading books by Ann Hood at the same time! The book was told from several points of view and really kept moving. Its an interesting study in how differently we all perceive the same thing. I thought the ending was a bit lacking--I kept looking for more pages, but if the ending was fuller it probably would have been too pat. Ironically,...more
Lisa Kost
I thought this book had potential when I started reading it, but then somewhere it the middle it lost it for me. And the ending - was there an ending ? It seemed to me that the author also got bored with the story and just stopped writing.
Beverly
I read this on the recommendation of my recent workshop leader, who suggested it to study alternating, numerous, close third-person points of view. For that purpose, it is excellent.

The novel is set in both the late 60s and mid-80s and follows three women who became friends in college and went on to different lives. Their teen children, all about the same age, also have a lot of time on the page. While it is a fast read, it ultimately left me dissatisfied. I thought the large cast of characters...more
Linda
Not a book about Maine! Rather, it is a look at where 3 college friends find themselves 15-20 years later and how their children reflect the choices they made. One of the trio of friends reverts to the life plan she had before they became friends, although not without some regret. Another unexpectedly settles down only to be shaken to the core by the death of her firstborn, who was her anchor. The last, who never waivered from her beliefs, is uprooted by and struggles with how to handle a diagno...more
Nancy
An unsatisfying book, beginning to end. Hood is a new author for me--picked the book up in a resale shop, because it was a story about three girls who meet in college in the late sixties. The narrative traces their stories until the mid-80s (when the book was written).

Maybe I would have liked it more if I read it when it was new--and I was the same age as the characters--but probably not, as the story never seemed to catch fire, offer any surprises or enlighten the reader with conclusions or ins...more
Sara
I was unfamiliar with Ann Hood when I picked up this debut novel, based soley on the title. I have a fondness for all things Maine. It's an easy read--polished off in one sitting. It tells the intertwined stories of three women, college friends, and how their choices inform their lives and the lives of their children. In many ways, it's another one of those "Big Chill" novels to which I can easily relate because of my own membership in that cohort. Not too strenuous a read, and it left me with o...more
Kristine
I picked this book up while in Maine b/c of the title and b/c I have heard of this writter from, The Knitting Circle. What also interested me was the summary on the back, "novel about choices we make when we are young, and the chhnges brought about by the passing of time." I did feel that the book reflected that and was very true to life. What I did not like about it was how it was written, went back and forth from present day to the 60's to present day...plus I just came off of reading Unaccust...more
Pam
Read too long ago-1990-to give a review. Have purchased her latest book.
P
This would be interesting for those growing up in the 60's and early 70's.
Jill
I think I'm glad it didn't take me that long to read it.
Grace
An easy and enjoyable read. Interesting relationships.
Kelly Hager
It's about three friends in the 60s (Claudia, Suzanne and Elizabeth) and then their children in the 80s (primarily Rebekah and Sparrow but also Henry, a little).

It's not my favorite Ann Hood book, but it's definitely entertaining.

Also, I think we can all relate to living lives that we didn't expect to live when we were in college.

The three friends all had these huge ideals and expectations, and none of them really attained those goals. (The book's not as sad as you'd think it would be, though.)...more
Jeannine
A novel exploring the lives and friendship of three women who meet in college in the 1960s and the impact their decisions then have on their lives and the lives of their children in the 1980s. It was very easy to relate to and empathize with all of the characters, and the author doesn't hold up one particular way as morally superior to any of the others - the reader is able to appreciate the people at face value.

My only criticism is that it ended rather abruptly, otherwise, a good read.
Vikki
I really enjoyed Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine by Ann Hood.
This was her first book. It didn't seem like a first book to me. It was a book that was very thoughtfully written. The book took three friends in 1969 that lived together in college and toggled back and forth between 1969 and what happened to the friends in 1985. The book moved along swiftly. Grief is a central theme. I think Ann Hood is just terrific. At this point, I want to read everything I can of hers.
Sami
Ann Hood has become one of my favorite authors (thanks, Jen, for recommending her). This was my least favorite of her books that I've read so far. I found the characters to be somewhat confusing to follow, and I felt like she spent more time on certain characters than others. Though, I did enjoy the story. And I found several of the characters to be quite interesting. Though, they weren't as developed as I would have liked. Overall, this was an interesting albeit quick read.
Sally
I believe this will be a good book group discussion book.....but.... didnt "get" it. Too many story lines missing. Where does the title come from?
Leah Wendt
Nov 18, 2012 Leah Wendt added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in women's issues.
I enjoyed this book. I'd had it on my shelf for a long time. My book is an earlier printing than the cover shown here. I liked how Ann Hood wove together the stories of three friends: their formative college years, their adult tragedies, and their children's stories. I don't want to give way the plot but this novel deals with issues of creating identity, mother/daughter conflict, dealing with the loss of a child/spouse/ideals, and finding hope in a difficult world.
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Ann Hood is the author of six works of fiction, including the bestseller The Knitting Circle and, most recently, The Obituary Writer, as well as a memoir, Comfort. She is also the editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting. The winner of two Pushcart prizes as well as Best American Food Writing, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing awards, she lives in Providence, R...more
More about Ann Hood...
The Knitting Circle The Obituary Writer The Red Thread Comfort: A Journey Through Grief Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting

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