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Some Things That Stay

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  908 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
Tamara Anderson's father is a landscape artist who quickly tires of the scenery, so every year her family seeks out new locations for his inspiration. When the Andersons move to a farmhouse in Sherman, New York, in the spring of 1954, fifteen-year-old Tamara and her mother want to settle down and make it home. Sherman begins to work a strange magic on Tamara and her siblin ...more
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published February 29th 2000 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 2000)
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Rating details
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Oct 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in a well-written story
Recommended to Bonnie by: Candas Jane Dorsey (author of Black Wine, etc.)
Shelves: reviewed-books
Excellent prose (great lines I wish I had written/could write); perfect-pitch POV 15 year-old; deeply moving.
Кремена Михайлова
Защо ТОЛКОВА много ми хареса (май повече от „Вино от глухарчета“ и колкото „Стъкленият замък“)? Сигурно заради:

- любимата ми Америка
- всички деца
- всички възрастни
- всички семейства
- всички мъки, колебания и радости
- детския глас (младежки всъщност)
- преводачката

„Що се хилиш?“
„Бая горещо, а?“
„Ми то…“
„Искам, я.“
„Глей си работата.“
„Тъй не бива.“
„А тъй, моето момиче.“

Добре че бяха първите „тръпки“, за да издържи на трудностите Тамара.

„Той протяга дясната си ръка, хваща лявата ми гърда и леко я сти
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K by: Mintzis
What can I say -- I agree wholeheartedly with Margueya's review, because it very accurately describes my experience of this book. Tamara, a cranky 15-year-old with perpetual PMS, has moved constantly throughout her childhood with her family in order to satisfy her father's artistic muse. This aspect of the book reminded me of The Glass Castle A Memoir at first, leading me to expect a similar story. It became clear, though, that Tamara's family was far more functional although they were certainly ...more
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. I tend to like most books, even though I am a critic and can pick things apart. But this book, I love. This book is SO authentic. The writing is spare and unadorned, and there isn't even a lot of dialog. But Willis can paint such a picture with so few words. The characters are fully realized and the story is heartbreaking and uplifting all at once. I moved a lot as a child and so maybe it spoke to me more than it would others, but ...more
May 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really felt like I was reading this girl's (Tamara) diary and the true feelings that she had. I could empathise and understand why she would feel certain ways because of her life experiences and what she had been taught all her life.
I liked how it ended; just like an ending to a diary - nothing fantastical or life changing, but just life goes on and we will have to see what happens next when she writes in a new diary. One thing to be warned is that it does have a fair amount of swearing and a
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
INitially the turns of phrase and fresh insight on the part of the fifteen year old narrator was really impressive, and I thought, wow, four stars in the making. Then I started to wonder, is this a YA book??? (which would be a really odd experience and quite a shift) in which case it's a good YA book but a lousy adult one. Then at a certain point it wasn't even a good YA book and so we end at two stars.
Basically it's a coming of age novel whereby an angry and attitudinal teen has to move all the
Mij Woodward
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-yes-read
An endearing glimpse into the lives of a family, seen through the eyes of a teenager, Tamara, the eldest of three kids.

The thing about this family--they MOVED, every year, and one year, Tamara put her foot down and declared she was not going to move again.

Through some vignettes and chapters that were almost like short stories, the reader gets to see Tamara, her siblings and her mother and father as they interact with each other and their neighbors.

I liked that most of the story took place in the
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I drug my feet finishing this only because I did not want it to end.
Usually this phenomenon would be plot related or character related but this time I just wanted to keep reading this writer's sentences.
I harbored no preconceived notions of how it would all wrap up for Tamara and her family but I wanted to go wherever she went and believe whatever she believed and learn whatever she learned.
Stunning. Beautiful use of domestic details to convey situations and to provide contrast and metaphor. B
Mar 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book enough to stay interested but not really enough to be memorable.
The writer's style is easy to read and paints a detailed description of where everything was set.
The main character Tamara is both lovable and completely annoying in a teenager way. I found myself wondering why she was such a bitch all the time and then remembered..."Oh yah, I was like that."
I would recommend this book for a plane trip but I probably won't remember it long enough to suggest it.
Jun 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is about a family who are always on the move so that the father can find new landscapes to paint. They land up in a remote, bleak country area which begins to feel like home. The novel has faded in my mind a bit since I read it, but I do remember that it gives a powerful feeling of what it is like to live in the middle of nowhere. I also remember the central mother/father/daughter relationships being strongly drawn.
Jul 25, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Technicolor characters, great pacing and plot, my only criticism is the book is set in 1954, but sometimes I can see 21st century petticoats peeking out from under the poodle skirts.
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone that loves a Good Coming of Age Story
Tender Story of Love, Heartache & Finding Home

This story centers on Tamara, a young woman living in rural Mayville, NY in the 1950’s. By the age of 14, she’s moved more times than she can count. Well, she can count them, but she’s not happy about the loose ends she always feels upon relocation. Once she realizes that the other kids in school have histories with their classmates and roots, she feels cheated and wants to settle down.

Her family is somewhat dysfunctional but very loving – her f
Rebecca McNutt
Also a Canadian-produced and rather obscure 2004 film, Some Things That Stay captures the life of a teenager in turmoil. Growing up in the early Fifties, Tamara faces tuberculosis, religious confusion, her first boyfriend and having to repeatedly move from town to town, unable to keep friends. This is a powerful, honest portrayal of a girl's life in a decade of modernity and oppression all at once. An excellent coming-of-age story, and I highly recommend it.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a sweet and tender coming-of-age story set in rural New York in the 1950's. I was hooked from the first sentence," We move each spring, like birds migrating, except we don't go to a familiar place." Tamara Anderson is turning 15 and adolescence is difficult enough without the complications of her unconventional nomadic family. Besides the yearly move to satisfy her artist father's needs, there is the life size nude portrait of her mother hanging in the living room and her insistence on ...more
Aug 31, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: youth-fiction
A quirky coming-of-age tale set in the New York countryside. Tamara, the protagonist, has gotten used to moving every time her father finishes a painting. But now that she's 13, and finally settled in a place next door to a boy she likes, she begins to question the kind of life her family has been living. It's a fun first novel and the writing rings true.
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
A coming-of-age story about a girl whose family moves frequently to satiate her father's artistic needs...(How funny that I read this one immediately after "The Glass Castle"). The book focuses on the most recent move and the various changes it provokes.

It is an easy read, the kind that just rolls over you.
May 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book because it was easy for me to relate to the main character, Tamara, a teenage girl who is tired of being dragged around the country for her father to paint. There was nothing outstanding about this novel, but I would recommend it for most young women.
Deb Hisle
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I traveled frequently as a child; my father was an officer in the Navy. This book reminded me of my own feelings about being the new kid, and showed me a different perspective on the experience. Written from the point of view of a young teenage girl, real emotions ring out.
Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
easy read, very sweet story
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Lovely book about a family that constantly moves as the father, a painter, travels around the country to paint his surroundings. Sweet, touching story.
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, beloved
My favorite coming of age story!
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this a while back but I really loved it. I had a few of my friends read it as well and they agreed with me.
Better than most books of this subject. Characters are interesting and, though not always realistic, funny and life-like.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a bittersweet read filled with ups and downs that really make you think. I absolutely loved it.
Scott Lee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, fans of The Glass Castle and memoirs, fans of coming-of-age stories
This was a good book. Heck, a darn good book! Maybe I am being a little stingy with my stars, but I don't want to be swayed by all the 4 and 5 star reviews here. I won't succumb to peer pressure to give this book 5 stars when I don't think it deserves it. It is a very quick and easy read, and it is a satisfying read. The author does a very good job of creating characters that are real. The narrator and main character, Tamara, is caught between not-quite-a-kid and not-quite-a-woman. She asks good ...more
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first part of the book is four stars. The rest of it is barely two stars. This has all been done before---rural setting, coming-of-age, offbeat parents. Tamara's voice starts off strong but just as you're starting to care about her, she veers off into that all-too-familiar detached teenage girl voice that ruins so many novels. The book won a lot of praise from high places (NYTimes, Stephen Crane Award, Cleveland Arts Prize, Publishers Weekly) so I thought it was odd that the book cover chose ...more
Rose Moore
Essentially the definition of a coming-of-age story, "Some Things That Stay" follows a young girl and her artistic family in 1950's America, spending a summer in a small town.

The story itself is quite straightforward. Tamara moves every year to a new town where her father can paint. She's getting sick and tired of the constant shifts, feeling out of place, the usual adolescent turmoil. With only one neighboring house where a young boy lives, the events that transpire are easily predictable.

May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gentle coming-of-age story that will stay with me for a while, I think. I found it a pure delight to read. I really cared about the characters - the mother most of all. Then again, this might have been an easy sell for the atheist child of a struggling oil painter, being a story about a child of an oil painter who is an atheist. Tamara's approach to religion had a lot of resonance to my own steps toward agnosticism as a pre-teen. I could relate to her struggle to believe. And I could relate to ...more
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story about a family on the move. It is written in the point of view from the oldest of the children about their current location and the life lessons that she encounters.
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“Last night I fell asleep quickly, into a place beyond sleep, deep and silent, the place I imagine caterpillars go to turn into butterflies.” 6 likes
“It is so hot that even with the windows open, I am suffocating. I kept a frog in a box once. The box had a lid so he wouldn't jump out. It was during a summer like this. When everyone moves slowly because the air is too thick to breathe. I forgot about the frog for a few days. It was dead by the time I remembered.

Tonight, as I lie in bed, I start to cry because I once killed a frog. It's just a little cry, and I stop myself quickly.”
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