Steph's Reviews > The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac

The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac by Kris D'Agostino
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May 30, 12

bookshelves: first-reads
Read from May 25 to 30, 2012

I won a copy of this book as a First Reads Giveaway.

This book was certainly entertaining, and I think D’Agostino did a good job of capturing the plight of a twenty-something with no idea what he wants to do with his life. It is a modern-day coming-of-age story, and I appreciate that D’Agostino made the main character older than in a traditional coming-of-age story; I agree with him that more people are “coming of age” older now than they were in the past.

My main problem with this novel was the main character, Calvin. As a recent college graduate myself who has just moved back home to live with my family, I was eager to read the book because I thought I would be able to relate to Calvin, but I couldn’t. I found him to be completely unlikeable. He’s directionless in life, and as the novel progresses he doesn’t really make an effort to find a direction. In fact, it could be argued he doesn't really come of age at all in this novel; in many ways, his teenage sister is more mature than he is. He would rather spend his money on weed than on helping his family pay the bills. He complains constantly about his problems (mainly that he doesn’t have a lot of money and that he wants to move away from his family but can't) while the other members of his family struggle with serious problems like cancer, pregnancy, and losing their home. As much as he claims to love his family, he doesn't seem to care about them all that much. I had a hard time having any sympathy for Calvin because I disliked him so much.

For me, it was Calvin’s family that saved this book, and that brought it up to 3 stars (more like 2.5). I liked reading about them. While a lot of their storylines revolve around difficult subjects (his father has cancer, his mother is struggling with the reality that they need to sell the house, his teenage sister is pregnant) D’Agostino has still managed to instill some humor into the story. They are quirky characters, and their quirks are what make them so likeable.

While parts of this book are quite sad, and listening to Calvin complain on an on can certainly get a bit boring, it was nonetheless a quick and enjoyable read thanks to the rest of the Morettis.
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05/25/2012 page 30
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