Mrsgaskell's Reviews > A Patchwork Planet
A Patchwork Planet
by Anne Tyler
by Anne Tyler
This was a pleasant read but my least favourite Anne Tyler so far (having read Ladder of Years, Digging to America, Breathing Lessons, and Back When We Were Grownups). Barnaby Gaitlin is the black sheep of his wealthy and philanthropic Baltimore family. As he reaches his thirtieth birthday, he begins to assess his life. A former juvenile delinquent and a college drop-out, he has been employed for nine years as a low-paid general helper by Rent-a-Back, a company that provides household assistance for seniors. He rents a basement apartment and doesn’t appear to have any friends except his co-worker Martine. His ex-wife Natalie is remarried to a prosperous lawyer and lives in Philadelphia with their nine-year-old daughter Opal. Barnaby visits his daughter monthly but, as a result of his frequent lateness and no-shows, has a poor relationship with her. His past misdeeds remain a barrier between him and his parents. His only positive family connection is with his maternal grandparents, who are from a humbler background. On the train to Philadelphia, Barnaby meets Sophia with whom he begins a relationship. She is 36 to his 30 but seemed much older than that to me as well as somewhat old-fashioned, a bank employee who wears her hair in a bun, makes Crock-Pot dinners, and spends Sunday evenings washing her stockings. This novel had less of Tyler’s insight and humour, and I didn’t feel the same connection to the characters as I have with her other books.
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