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3.38  ·  Rating details ·  32,633 ratings  ·  4,300 reviews
In her best-selling debut, Commencement, J. Courtney Sullivan explored the complicated and contradictory landscape of female friendship. Now, in her highly anticipated second novel, Sullivan takes us into even richer territory, introducing four unforgettable women who have nothing in common but the fact that, like it or not, they’re family.

For the Kellehers, Maine is a pl
Kindle Edition, 530 pages
Published (first published 2011)
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Cori Rail It felt like a high school kid was writing a paper, FINALLY got to the amount of words required, said "hallelujah!" and stopped writing.…moreIt felt like a high school kid was writing a paper, FINALLY got to the amount of words required, said "hallelujah!" and stopped writing.(less)
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Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  32,633 ratings  ·  4,300 reviews

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Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two stars means it was "okay" and that's all the enthusiam I can muster for this one. The cover pulled me in, a woman on a beach, green sky surrounding her. It promised a fun literary beach read and unfortunately, for me, it didn't really deliver.

Three generations of Boston/Irish woman and another daughter in-law meet at the family's beach cottage (and two million dollar main house) in Maine. The narrative is told from the four women's points of view, which was a lot to overcome since only one a
Aug 01, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
See below... I finished the book. There was no good news. The characters were all thin, 1-dimensional angry/bitter or victims with NO redeeming qualities and few redeeming actions (which were performed grudgingly at best.) The male characters were simply parsley on the plate used ONLY to showcase the women...the entire preimise of the book apparently was "life's a bitch and then you die".

I am in the middle of this book...I have only gotten this far because...I continue to believe, that with a b
ilovebakedgoods (Teresa)
I felt like I read a different book/story than the one the jacket made me believe I was going to get. I didn't like many of the characters AT ALL, I don't even understand how these people got together every year at the cottage when they seemingly hated one another for so long. I don't know..too much to get into and I'm a very lazy reviewer, but while I don't feel like every character I come to know should be happy all the time, I can't stand reading about the most miserable people on the planet ...more
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The cover of this book is misleading -- I think that's upsetting a lot of readers, and that's probably fair. While the book IS set mainly on a beach in Maine, there's not too much that's lighthearted about this novel. But then, what are you going to show? 4 women angrily glaring at each other?

On the other hand, this book is exactly the kind of beach read that I do like. Good drama, easy to get wrapped up in, and a moving story. Three generations of women share the chapters in this book, and the
Absolutely loved this book. I thoroughly enjoyed "Commencement", and Sullivan did not disappoint with her latest novel, "Maine." I truly loved the characters in this book and felt invested in them, and enjoyed the story-telling aspects that took us into the earlier part of the 20th century. I read it on my Kindle, where I have the opportunity to highlight passages or phrases that move me, and found myself doing it frequently with this book- mostly in relation to personal experiences. I found mys ...more
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Note to Good Reads: I hate that you don't have half stars! Two stars seems a bit too critical, but three stars feels too much to award this book. It's finely written, and I loved the construct of offering differing points of view from three generations of women in one family. The author balances this juxtaposition well, effortlessly switching from one character's voice to another. And the great success of the book, for me, is that the author illustrates so well how no one can really ever know an ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Families are the places we share the most happy times and the most miserable times, the greatest joys and the most pain, places where people lift us up to become our best selves and tear us down to our worst. Maine is a book about families.

There is wisdom about families in this book. Here’s a little about having a child:

“No one had told Kathleen about the dark parts of motherhood. You gave birth and people brought over the sweetest little shoes and pale pink swaddling blankets. But then you were
Jun 17, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tried-to-finish
I had to stop about 30% into the book (I'm reading it on a Kindle and it doesn't show page numbers but percentage) because well, it's just not very good writing. ...The author makes such a crucial mistake in writing which is she fails to SHOW what's happening and instead TELLS you what's happening. Therefore NOTHING HAS BEEN HAPPENING! All I've been reading is the back story of the first two characters, Alice and Kathleen. Don't tell me Alice is a self-conscious, judgmental, unsupportive mother. ...more
Kim G
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I had an odd reaction to this book. I have so many criticisms, and yet I found it surprisingly engaging in spite of its flaws. I wouldn't quite give it three stars -- it was way too flawed for that -- but it's actually a high two, as opposed to a low two.

This is one of those chick lit family dramas, three generations of women in one dysfunctional family, multiple viewpoints, blah blah blah. I can't remember the last time I read a book like this and thought it was well done; they're usually in t
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have now read all of J. Courtney Sullivan's novels and I gotta say I enjoyed this one. All her novels tie into being an American of Irish descent. I really like how she's always reminding herself her ancestors came from somewhere else. Her characters always have the Catholic faith instilled into them even with their evident flaws and dark pasts; the struggle to be good but still hating most of your family and loving them enough to come back. She has a Maeve Binchy sort of style except Sullivan ...more
Jul 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book highly readable but ultimately unsatisfying. Sullivan is a talented storyteller but there is little substance in her writing. I was thinking about how Jonathan Franzen (and many of his reviewers) were widely criticized. Why, people asked, do his books get so much attention when they are "just" domestic novels, not unlike so many similar novels written by women? But I believe Jonathan Franzen is a wonderful example of an author using the domestic setting to explore powerful idea ...more
Three generations of family struggle with their expectations,desires and relationships with one another. Points of view are Alice the matriarch,daughter Kathleen,daughter in-law Ann Marie and grand-daughter Maggie.
The one thing beyond family ties that they have in common is a beach front property in Maine.Loved, coveted and harbor of memories good and bad. The one place that draws them inexplicably together is also the biggest bone of contention.And when all four women descend upon the place,
May 21, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought a book with the title "Maine" would portray the state as an integral part of the story. However, this book could have taken place anywhere. The author did little to set the story in Maine other than citing a few local references. The characters were not well-developed and I found myself only mildly curious about them. The plot was thin and predictable, with Catholic guilt, Irish alcoholism, and sibling rivalry as major themes. Despite the dust-jacket blurb, I didn't find anything "wick ...more
Dani Peloquin
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many of you may remember by review of the author's first novel "Commencement". While I didn't give it that great of a review, I did mention that I was looking forward to reading her books in the future as I thought she had some potential as a writer. It is for this reason that I jumped at the chance to her new novel "Maine". This is certainly very different from her first novel and I love it!

The novel follows four women in the Kelleher family during a monumental summer at their beach house in Ma
Kate Quinn
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sullivan does something rather remarkable in "Maine": she tells her story through the eyes of four women, not one of whom is completely likeable, yet manages to make you care what happens to them. The premise is simple - a beach house in Maine where the family matriarch, her daughter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter converge with a variety of personal problems. There's a pregnancy, a recovered alcoholic, a long buried secret, and enough grudges to fuel a war, but "Maine" isn't really abou ...more
Lisa Schmeiser
Apr 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while, I think to myself, "Self, you should probably break out of your fantasy and scifi genre and read one of those books about generations of women who are so witless to keep perpetuating the same psychological battles down through the years. I always see women reading these on the ferry or on planes, they seem like the kind of women who get asked to book clubs, and you've really wanted to be part of a book club. So if you read it, perhaps they will come."

And then I pick up a b
LeAnn Noland
Nov 21, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
To say that this book was less than stellar is an understatement. First, the characters were either out and out unlikeable, insipid, or downright annoying. The storyline was slow and I felt that it took a long time to find out what the significant events were that had shaped the characters. I listened to this on audio book and it felt like the history of the battles was unfolded like peeling onion layers (and almost as painful). It seemed as though that was the whole point of the book rather tha ...more
Kristin Strong
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Haiku Book Review

Three generations
Of family dysfunction
Thank God it's not mine.

Of course, there's much more to it than that. It's three generations of a women in a family with Issues (excuse the gratuitious caps, but there will be more before we've finished here), and those Issues are not complementary...or maybe they are, but in a friction-producing, resentment-engendering, contempt-breeding way. Alice, the widowed matriarch, is Boston-bred and Irish Catholic; she harbors what she believes to
Erika Robuck
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
MAINE, by J. Courtney Sullivan, was published in hardcover in June of 2011, and just came out in paperback. Both editions have hit the New York Times Bestsellers list, and the novel was named a Best Book of the Year by Time magazine. I had intended to read it while at the beach later this summer, but picked it up recently to read a chapter. Five days later, I finished the book in tears, and missed the characters who I’d gotten to know and love in spite of their flaws.

MAINE is the story of three
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Maine”, by J.Courtney Sullivan, is largely the story of Alice Kelleher, a very direct, headstrong and outspoken matriarch, and three generations of her family who seem to become weaker with each successive generation. She is a devoted Catholic, driven by an almost religious fanaticism to do her duty and perform some act of kindness before she dies, in order to make up for her sins and ensure that she is not consigned to Hell. She is known for her sharpness of tongue, coldness, drinking and sudd ...more
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading the book cover, one might assume this is yet another novel about a multi-generational, dysfunctional family only this time on the eve of summer, the family cottage and beach house, their battlefield. “Maine” is so much more, weaving the history of Irish immigrants in Boston, decisions young women and men made about relationships, marriage and careers as young men shipped out abruptly during World War II, and the lingering power of the Catholic Church on these young couples.
The novel is n
Emily Sims Ritter
This book kept my attention, but it wasn't the engrossing family saga I was hoping it would be. The characters, for the most part, are unlikable, selfish people who are content to wallow in their memories of what someone did to them twenty years ago. The only characters in the book I liked were Maggie and Ann Marie, and I kept waiting for them to finally have their shining moments and tell everyone else to go to hell. It didn't happen.


The ending left quite a bit unresolved, and t
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, adult, arc
Calling it now: bestseller. Not because it is a-mazing, like The Help or Room, but because it is the kind of books ladies like to read on their vacations and pass along to their friends.

With four female main characters from three generations, women will see themselves, their mothers, sisters, grandmothers, or children in at least one of the interwoven stories. And even though it didn't wrap up sufficiently for my tastes, this slice of family life, with its vivid characters that you alternate be
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cover and title are unfortunate, leading one to believe this is a light, fluffy beach read. It's so much more than that. I loved it. It's well-written and at times wickedly funny. Dysfunction at it's best. At the end of the book I wasn't ready to say good-bye to the 3 generations of Kelleher women.

This would make an excellent book club selection, with lots to discuss.
Maureen Grigsby
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very satisfying novel of a large Irish Catholic family in Massachusetts. Strong personality clashes with lifetimes full of resentments, and the Church always looming in the background makes for a delicious read!
A solid 3.5. I feel badly leaving this on my shelf for so long--a great summer read! Yes, it's over 500 pages and a cover that doesn't represent it well, so those were factors in why I kept passing it over.

A family drama featuring women of three generations of Irish/Catholic descent. There were some great one-liners, such as when a grandfather thought a granddaughter's skirt was too short, "Your knees should throw a party and invite your skirt down." I'd say it was even 15% historical fiction a
Jul 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads
I admit, I didn't like a single character. Even in the end, I STILL didn't like anyone. Sullivan takes three generations and puts them in the part of Maine I've been visiting yearly for the past 17 years. So it was fun to visit since I haven't gotten up there yet this year! But spending a week with these women was claustrophobic to say the least. This was a one case I wasn't sorry to say goodbye to a book! ...more
The ending? Never saw that coming!
Book Concierge
May 23, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Book on CD narrated by Ann Marie Lee

Three generations of Kelleher women descend on the family’s beach-front property one summer. The four women around whom the story revolves have little in common except that they are all part of this dysfunctional family. Their relationships are as rocky as the coast of Maine.

I finished this only because it is a book-club selection. Terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE. The characters are cardboard cutouts. Not a single one of them is anyone I would want to know – even
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J. Courtney Sullivan is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Commencement, Maine, The Engagements, and Saints For All Occasions. Maine was named a Best Book of the Year by Time magazine, and a Washington Post Notable Book for 2011. The Engagements was one of People Magazine’s Top Ten Books of 2013 and an Irish Times Best Book of the Year. It is soon to be a major motion picture prod ...more

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