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Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty

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Labor Day, 1976, Martha's Vineyard. Summering at the family beach house along this moneyed coast of New England, Fern and Edgar—married with three children—are happily preparing for a family birthday celebration when they learn that the unimaginable has occurred: There is no more money. More specifically, there's no more money in the estate of Fern's recently deceased parents, which, as the sole source of Fern and Edgar's income, had allowed them to live this beautiful, comfortable life despite their professed anti-money ideals. Quickly, the once-charmed family unravels. In distress and confusion, Fern and Edgar are each tempted away on separate adventures: she on a road trip with a stranger, he on an ill-advised sailing voyage with another woman. The three children are left for days with no guardian whatsoever, in an improvised Neverland helmed by the tender, witty, and resourceful Cricket, age nine.

Brimming with humanity and wisdom, humor and bite, and imbued with both the whimsical and the profound, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is a story of American wealth, class, family, and mobility, approached by award-winner Ramona Ausubel with a breadth of imagination and understanding that is fresh, surprising, and exciting.

From the Hardcover edition.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published June 14, 2016

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About the author

Ramona Ausubel

11 books336 followers
Ramona Ausubel is the author of a new novel, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty (on sale 6/14/2016) as well as No One is Here Except All of Us, winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and Finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. Her collection of stories, A Guide to Being Born, was a New York Times’ Notable Book. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, The Paris Review Daily, One Story, Ploughshares, The Oxford American and The Best American Fantasy. She is a faculty member of the low-residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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5 stars
450 (10%)
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1,264 (28%)
3 stars
1,714 (39%)
2 stars
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187 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 543 reviews
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,693 reviews14.1k followers
July 1, 2016
3.5 Edgar is from new money, his father owns a steel mill in Chicago, and his parents use their money to create an impression. Feen, is from old money, her parents are more decorous in their display of their wealth. They marry, Vietnam calls, though Edgar has strings pulled on his behalf. They have three children, but all the while Edgar is conflicted about money, well until the money is gone and Fern tells him in order to support their family has may have to go to work for his father and give up publishing the novel he had taken ten years to create. In a series of misadventures, supreme selfishness, misunderstanding both Edgar and Fern take off, each thinking the other is at home with their children.

From the beginning I had a hard time with Edgar, not a likable character for sure, liked Fern a bit more. But loved nine year old Cricket who does almost everything right, not knowing where her parents are or if they will be back. Scared of the orphanage, she does everything so no one notices they are parentless. She and the writing kept me reading, plus I was really curious as to how this would all be resolved. There is a giant of a man named Mac that I really enjoyed and than I came to the realization that this read like a modern day fairytale. Quite interesting and ingenious. Then the most amazing thing, by books end, Edgar had redeemed himself, I found myself liking him more, quite a feat for an author to pull off. Really hoped this little family would manage to stay together. Will there be a happy ever after? You'll have to read it to see.

ARC from netgalley.

Profile Image for Marjorie.
543 reviews54 followers
June 1, 2016
In 1976, Fern and Edgar were a well-to-do couple with three children. They are enjoying their summer at their beach house in New England as usual when they learn that all of their money is gone. The shock of this news sends Fern and Edgar off on their own fantasy adventures. Edgar takes off with an uninhibited younger woman and Fern takes off with Mac, a giant (just a very large man). Each thinks the other parent is at home with the children but the children are left alone. Cricket, only 9 years old, is left in charge of her younger brothers.

I unfortunately didn’t read the blurb about this book carefully enough and thought it was a serious look about money and class. That is not the case at all and apparently isn’t meant to be. Even though I had misunderstood what the book was like, I should have been able to get into the spirit of the book once I saw where it was heading. But I just couldn’t stand reading about these parents and their selfish, childish response to facing a future of actually having to earn a salary. Their children were much more mature than they were. Maybe I just didn’t understand the humor but I didn’t find anything about this book humorous or filled with wisdom or brimming with humanity as advertised.

The only parts of the book that I liked at all were the parts of their family life before losing their money and Mac the giant’s story. But it wasn’t enough to save the book for me.

This book was given to me by the publisher through First to Read
Profile Image for Tyler Goodson.
171 reviews122 followers
March 30, 2016
Don't be fooled. This novel is ten novels in one. One about a marriage faltering. One about a woman crossing the country with a giant. One about a doomed sea voyage. One about three children left on their own for days. No it is not a fairy tale. It is deeply feeling and human and astonishingly rich. Ramona Ausubel is so good that every page contains as much life and magic as a novel needs. Every paragraph, even. Reading it feels like reading for the first time, before you knew something could be so wonderful. The goodness of this book cannot be overstated. (Though I am trying.)
Profile Image for Lisa.
204 reviews4 followers
July 19, 2016
I found this to be ridiculous nonsense about unbelievable characters I had no interest in. Cannot figure out what the fuss was about and why it got such good reviews. A total waste of my time--I read all of it, kept waiting for it to live up to the hype--it didn't.
Profile Image for Steph VanderMeulen.
105 reviews73 followers
August 30, 2016
If you enjoyed Fates & Furies and The Nest, you'll like this book even more. I did! The writing is lovely and poetic and evocative, and the story is not only wonderfully imaginative with a touch of what smacks of magic realism but isn't; it is also beautifully enriched by the varying depths of emotion and intelligence and intuition in the characters, like multilevel drops in an ocean floor.

This is the kind of novel I have to distance myself from to write about, because I'm flooded right now, like an engine that won't operate. So many things to consider: the palpable everything, the fully realized people, the character of money, the yearning of the heart, the need for adventure and freedom but also the sense that being unmoored isn't necessarily what one might imagine or even want.

The jacket tells you what this story is about already: but read it more for the experience of becoming the people in this book wherever they are. I know it sounds weird, but I put the novel on my shelf with two thoughts, when I finished: I've been to this book. And I'm keeping this one.
Profile Image for Roberto.
Author 2 books96 followers
September 13, 2016
Guys I would fucking LOVE a summerhouse. Can you imagine me in my summerhouse, wearing short shorts, drinking pink fucking fizz and popping nurofen because the sun hurts my head. I was reading this and i kept thinking of Ina and Jeffrey (because The Barefoot Contessa is my only reference for how rich people live) losing their home in the Hamptons and having affairs, total nightmare. This novel dealt some blows to the heart, and raised a bunch of interesting points about white privilege and the guilt of being born into money, of it not feeling earned, not being comfortable with that legacy, feeling like your life isn't real even. Good things to think about. And handled with subtlety here and shade and layers. Shit happens, this novel tells us. Usually it's our own fault, but not always. The rich have it tough too, kids. And affairs are ALWAYS BAD. And wife-swapping, the only bad thing to come out of the Seventies.
Profile Image for Laurel.
442 reviews18 followers
May 25, 2016
Fern, Edgar, their daughter and twin sons return to Cambridge after spending the summer at their beach house in Martha’s Vineyard. Fern has heard from her deceased parents’ lawyer that all of her money is gone and unless Edgar returns to work for his father, they will be unable to continue their current lifestyle. Fern is a housewife and Edgar is writing a book.

I found Fern and Edgar to be two deplorable individuals, never having grown up, both dismissive of their parents’ money, but willing to live off their largesse. As the author, Ramona Asubel writes of Edgar, “…poverty for Edgar was impossible to imagine. Money was both disgusting and ever-present. He hated it but did not know how to live without it.” Edgar thought of spending as “getting rid of money.” Somehow, to both of them, the actual idea of “making money” was dirty. Edgar still had this childish dream that their life would go on, he’d write his book, and everything would be okay.

The story and their lives come to a head when Fern leaves to go on a road trip with a stranger and Edgar on a sailing trip to Bermuda with another woman. Neither of these adventures is exactly planned and each takes off without telling the other, thus leaving their three children to fend for themselves. Cricket, their nine-year-old daughter, manages to take care of herself and her brothers in an extraordinary fashion and the conclusion, in my opinion, leaves much to be desired.
Profile Image for Lori.
827 reviews52 followers
March 26, 2017
I'm sad that I really had a hard time getting into this. But I also have a hard time with people who think they don't have to work for a living. Like they can just live off someone else's money and play all day. Don't even get me started on the immediate jump into infidelity after finding out the money well ran dry and child abandonment.
Profile Image for Bill Kupersmith.
Author 1 book196 followers
February 7, 2017
Clearly not going to work for me. Characters & settings simply do not ring true & the mock wedding in the Alzheimer's memory unit was utterly pathetic.
Profile Image for Chance.
74 reviews4 followers
May 21, 2016
Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty has a promising title. On reading it one envisions a timely piece of fiction about wealth and privilege in the United States. In practice the book is much more straightforward: it's a story of an unwinding marriage in New England. In chapters that alternate between the 1960s and 1970s we discover that Fern comes from old money and grieves for the loss of her twin brother, while Edgar is the only child (and thus subject to the unrealistically high expectations) of ambitious new money. Fern hates that her family's money originates with slavery and Edgar resents the exploitative capitalism of his father's steel business. The two run off together and subsist on an inheritance from Fern's family, with Fern raising their three children and Edgar toiling away on a novel. When the money runs out, a schism forms between husband and wife and, abandoning their children, the two embark on separate voyages of self-discovery and infidelity.

This synopsis makes it sound exciting, but the third person narrator meanders through the story, frantically jumping from character to character seemingly in search of any meaningful detail but almost always coming up short. The prose is plain and clear, the paragraphs and chapters neatly arranged. Characters' motivations are painfully (and unbelievably) transparent – Fern's depressed mother (whose artistic career was derailed) resents her daughter's embrace of married life, Edgar cheats on Fern with a sexy would-be hippie whose name evokes a flower (duh). Animals are often employed to telegraph a tone of bourgeois foreboding: a cat chokes on a string, a dog disappears, children discover the carcass of a dead fawn. The novel begs for more challenging passages. Ausubel's attempts at social criticism – the cursory and oft-repeated mentions of atrocities committed against Native American and slaves (including a not-quite-convincing subplot involving the children dressed as Indians), the frustratingly non-specific Vietnam tableaux (because every "real" 1960s book needs them) – are never actually dramatized, and come across as ham-fisted apologies for her unwavering investment in such an otherwise unremarkable plot. The most thrilling parts of the novel are when it suggests that perhaps its protagonists can arrive at happiness outside of the trappings of their extremely normative (even by 1970s standards) family. Unfortunately, like its characters, Sons and Daughters is not the kind of book to embrace that risk.
Profile Image for Kirsty.
2,680 reviews177 followers
August 29, 2017
I was so eager to read Ramona Ausubel's Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty that I ordered it directly from Washington state. I adored her debut novel, No One Is Here Except All of Us, which was published in 2012, and takes place in Romania during the Second World War. The storyline of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is rather different, but no less compelling.

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty, which has been so wonderfully received, begins in Martha's Vineyard on Labor Day, 1976, and spans generations and decades. Fern and Edgar, who were high-school sweethearts, are holidaying with their three children. Despite their 'deeply professed anti-money ideals', both have been living a 'beautiful, comfortable life' thanks to Fern's recently deceased parents. When Fern receives a phone call to inform her that all of the money, which she and her family have been so reliant upon, is gone, their 'once-charmed' life unravels immediately.

Fern and Edgar both leave the familial home on separate adventures, unaware that the other parent has also escaped, and their three children have been left completely alone, in the care of seven-year-old Cricket. As their 'paths divide and reunite, the characters must make crucial decisions about their own values, about the space they occupy in American history, and about the inner mould of their family.' Ausubel poses questions regarding their situation, using them to explore the bigger issues of inherited wealth and privilege. Perhaps the most striking of these is: 'When you've worked for nothing, what do you owe?'

When surveying his family's vacation house, Ausubel writes the following about Edgar: 'He knew that the summerhouse, the sea view, belonged to him because he paid for them, yet it felt like his bloodstream pumped with this place, like the rocks and waves and saltmuck were in him, that he was of them. But money, old money, got all the press.' His own parents are wealthy too, enjoying the profits of a successful steel business, which has even allowed them to purchase their own private island in the Caribbean. He has repeatedly been offered a position in the company, which comes with a very healthy salary, but has so far turned it down; he sees himself, rather than a business operative, as an aspiring novelist, writing back against industry and inherited wealth. 'Being rich,' writes Ausubel, 'had felt to Edgar like treading alone for all of time in a beautiful, bottomless pool. So much, so blue, and nothing to push off from. No grit or sand, no sturdy earth, just his own constant movement to keep above the surface.' Although the family protest about inherited money, when Fern tells Edgar of their wealth running out, 'It was like announcing a death... The money had lived its own life, like a relative.'

Ausubel writes with such clarity, and there is a wonderful depth to Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty. She notices and relays the most minute things back to the reader, making them astonishingly beautiful; for instance: 'Fern had felt the very specific warmth of Edgar's skin, different from anyone elses. Suddenly, the car had slowed and they had both jolted forward. The road ahead of them had turned all silver, shimmering and slippery, like mercury had spilled all over it. It had melted like the sea.' Ausubel's characters are multi-dimensional, and she has a real understanding both for the adults and children whom she has created. Cricket particularly is an endearing creature; she has been rendered vivid in both her actions and speech, and one warms to her immediately. The family's story plays out against important elements of social history - the Vietnam war, for example.

Whilst Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty has perhaps a more conformist feel to it than No One Is Here Except All of Us, it is no less beautiful. Ausubel deftly and brilliantly evokes a once perfect relationship which soon becomes a troubled marriage, and explores such themes as belonging, trust, the notion of inheritance - both bodily and monetarily, and love. Her prose is thoughtful throughout, and some passages incredibly sensual. Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is a deeply human novel, and I did not want it to end.
3 reviews1 follower
November 23, 2016
I only read the first 50-75 pages of this book, before I decided to give up. The book was not the worst I have ever read, but it was certainly aiming for the title. There were an unpleasant amount of grammatical errors, which only distracted from a story that seemed very lacking in substance and overall thought. The characters were not well explained, and had little to no emotion showing in their characters. Even a scene in which a man cheats on his wife for the first time was described with as much enthusiasm as one would recount an average trip to the grocery store.
Perhaps the book becomes far more interesting in the later pages, and for the sake of other readers, I hope it does, but I will never find out. 1/5, Would not recommend.
Profile Image for Autumn.
262 reviews1 follower
August 15, 2016
I think the author was attempting to say something meaningful about class and wealth in American society with this story, but failed and wrote one of those awful stories about young white people who are super attractive but also damaged emotionally and have awful parents and then mess up their relationships as adults, etc. Also they are really really rich so of course they love Martha's Vineyard and sailing. Everyone in this book is a nightmare and its too bad that someone with a platform can't figure out how to actually tackle this topic in a way that isn't a caricature.
Profile Image for nikkia neil.
1,150 reviews19 followers
December 10, 2016
Thanks Penguin first to read for this ARC.

This novel has so many layers and pathways for us explore. Are we ever happy with what we have? Does everyone think the grass is greener on the other side? And do we have to lose what we have to appreciate it? This novel asks us all these questions, but we get to form our own opinions. I like that the author doesn't choose the best way or preach a point of view. Our book group will have a lot of great discussions from this novel.
Profile Image for Amanda Rogozinski.
73 reviews1 follower
July 4, 2016
Ramona Ausubel has recently become one of my favorite fiction authors. Her newest characters don’t go to church or discuss God very often, and if you are looking for a cleaned up, PG version of reality, you won’t find it. Her characters do devastating things to each other: they have affairs, take revenge, and even abandon their children. But Ausubel’s vision of a good life is far from nihilistic. She affirms the worth of living, despite weakness and age. She values commitment and family. She upholds marital love as deeper than passion, and weighs the impact generations bequeath on one another. Her characters hardly arrive through the mess they make unscathed; Ausubel doesn’t pretend there are no consequences. Yet, through failure, she reveals the mysterious grace that sometimes a person’s most devastating choices are also their means to redemption.

Continued at TheWillowNook.com You are welcome to join us!
Profile Image for Amy Lawson.
539 reviews6 followers
February 9, 2017
This book grew on me. Initially Fern and Edgar drove me crazy and just seemed whiny and annoying. However , mid way through, I began to appreciate their struggle to figure out what life was all about in the absence of the great wealth they grew up with. Cricket, the young daughter who was forced into a mother role after Fern and Edgar both flee, was my favorite.

These characters, although shallow and selfish held my attention as I also appreciated what they were trying to figure out.

"Maybe it had simply been impossible to imagine crossing whatever it was she was about to cross without her person."
Profile Image for Sheryl.
427 reviews103 followers
June 2, 2016
I really liked the way the Ms.Ausubel laid out the story. It was very well written to where you find yourself despising Edgar and Fern for being the children of rich parents. It wasn't so much Fern that I despised it was Edgar. He decided he hates money and all it stands for but he sure doesn't want to be without it. He hates to work is his problem, having any responsibility. I felt so sorry for their children, they had a 9-year-old daughter, Cricket and twin sons who are about 6 years old.
All is well until a year after the death of Fern's parents' death she receives a call, they have no more money. They are going to have to sell her family home to pay the taxes. Their lives are turned upside down. Edgar just might have to go work in his dad's mega steel company in Chicago, he'll learn the business and take over for his dad someday that was the plan when they sent him to all the private school's and sent him to Yale, wasn't it? Only the best for their only child. But he's been living off his wife's family's fortune writing a novel for the past ten years about that very same fate. They both find themselves crumbling after they receive the phone call. Fern takes action and calls Edgar's family and lets them know what has happened.
Edgar decides to act out like a child and drags Fern in on his dirty little game and Fern is devasted. They end up both running in their separate ways and do the unthinkable in the process; they leave their three small children at home alone for an extended period of time.

I liked the novel, but it expired before when I was 85% done. I was so mad I couldn't get it finished in time.
675 reviews1 follower
July 2, 2016
Found this book difficult to read. The husband and wife were selfish and self-centered. Or perhaps it was because the world of wealth and privilege is foreign to me. The Keatings spent at least half the book trying to be like the not-rich-since-birth but not being successful because they didn't surrender their wealth and would not experience the life that those they were trying to emulate experienced. Even when they each go on trips with relative strangers (mid-life crises in the late 20's?), there are no legal repercussions and the emotional ones seem shallow and short-lived.

There were aspects of the book that were just bizarre: the 4th grade teacher; a self-sufficient 10 year old; a man giant and the free pie. Why can't a writer just tell a story without throwing in these bizarre touches or skimming issues that are not part of the story and are not developed (the kiss in the girls' lavatory).
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,117 reviews69 followers
July 18, 2016
Loved it. It was a five-star book almost all the way through... but dragged just a tiniest bit near the end. I think the slowdown was deliberate, and it contributed to the tone of the book, so I still highly recommend. I am devouring everything from Ms. Ausubel-- what a voice, what incredible control of language! Selfishly, I wish her Pattersonesque output.
Profile Image for Marcia.
828 reviews15 followers
August 3, 2016
I hated the characters (who I don't think were written to be hated), and not in a "well, this is interesting" way. But I also wanted to tell others about plot points.
Profile Image for Chaitra.
3,299 reviews
August 5, 2016
For some reason I thought Swamplandia! when I read about this book. It could be because Karen Russell wrote an excerpt, or something about the abandonment plot. I'm one of those who actually loved Swamplandia!, although I can't say why since I read it a while ago and wrote the review when I was in my smartass phase. But, I can logically suppose it's because of the abandoned kids. I felt for them.

So anyway, when I started Sons and Daughters, I was slightly disappointed, because there wasn't much of the kids. They weren't being immediately abandoned, dammit! Instead, there was rapid unraveling of a couple's marriage on those basest of things, money. Once there was, and now it's gone. But not fully - Edgar, the father, only has to say the words and a vast business empire is his. Except he's a would-be hippy who has spent ten years both coasting on his parents' and his wife's money, and also writing a self-righteous novel about a son who walks away from his parents' money. Fern, his wife, loves material things, and once the money from her side runs out, she wants Edgar to go to his family so that they can raise the kids the way they always have - with ease and plenty. Then Edgar ditches his wife for the first random female he meets and takes her sailing without informing Fern, not knowing that Fern wants to get away (having caught Edgar with aforementioned female), and she's written him a note that he hasn't read. The kids are left alone.

This isn't Swamplandia!, in the sense that the kids are all right. In a way, it does the gravity of the situation disservice. Edgar and Fern do learn things about themselves - she is stronger than he is, he's a bigger hypocrite than she. The kids are not preyed upon, they don't set the house on fire or hurt themselves, as they could easily have done. These parents acting like children got very lucky. I'm not sure if they learned the last part, but they should have. It also wasn't what I wanted to read. What I wanted to read was a world of children. But I also didn't expect to genuinely empathize with Fern, with Mac, even Glory and Mary. Edgar was the only one I didn't care for, but I didn't even mind some of his bits - his Vietnam war that he spent in Alaska for example.

I don't know if I'll recommend this book to anyone. It is a first world problems book after all, and it doesn't even have a satisfactory or suitably tragic outcome. But I liked it.
Profile Image for Karen.
970 reviews20 followers
July 3, 2016
Fern and Edgar are married with three beautiful children. It is the summer of 1976 and they are spending it at their beach house on Martha’s Vineyard. Each day is an idyllic version of the life they were meant to live. Edgar has spent the last decade pouring his heart into the writing of a novel, his life’s work. Fern has happily spent each moment being the mom that her mom didn’t know how to be. These are days filled with sailboats, sand between toes and pots of lobster. The money from Fern’s wealthy family allows them these luxuries. One morning when the phone rings the family lawyer informs Fern that the estate her parents left when they recently passed away was not as she imagined. It is all gone. All the money is gone. Shocked but not as destitute as one might believe, Fern quietly turns to Edgars parents who will happily fund their lifestyle, only catch being that Edgar must come work at his father’s steel company. They will be forced to live the bourgeoisie life Edgar abhors. The couple tears apart at the seams, each to evaluate their life decisions and take unexpected journey’s in opposite directions - both thinking the other is home with the children. Left to their own devices, the children live in a fantasy world in a teepee in the backyard filled with orphan catchers and wild Indians. This novel is beautifully written. Each chapter flips back and forth between the present 1976 and ten year’s prior when Fern and Edgar were at the beginning of their relationship. While it explores the “anti-money” ideal and the depths that a marriage can survive, this novel also touches on motherhood, the Vietnam War and feminism . The main characters, none the least bit admirable, are extremely entertaining. I found the end dragging me to the finish line but I was already deeply immersed and am still thinking about them the day after. Interesting beach read with a lot to digest in a “what if” riches to rags (sort of) dilemma.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
September 8, 2016
One of the main things I got out of this book is money isn't all that important, until you don't have any....
Fern and Edgar are married and the parent of three children... Edgar has a little slip, both parents decide they need time to themselves, and somehow their kids get left behind all by themselves??? Cricket, who I absolutely adored, was probably one of the most resourceful nine-year-old I have ever heard of... I kept thinking to myself, I wonder how my kids at that age would have coped if all of a sudden they had no parents looking after them... Really the part of this book I enjoyed most besides good old cricket or the flashbacks... How Fern and Edgar met, How their childhoods were and all that... I was pretty put off by the fact that they both felt it necessary to leave, I found that quite selfish, although all in all they were pretty selfish people..... It was just kind of hard to feel sorry for people who have never really had to work for a living, and now might have to, oh the horror!
73 reviews
July 2, 2016
What tremendously unlikable characters. Fern and Edgar are wealthy trust fund babies who marry at a young age. Of course, both have issues with money - but that doesn't prevent them from living an indulgent lifestyle complete with watch collections and a summer home by the sea. When Fern's parents die, leaving no money and Edgar facing the possibility of having to work (gasp) - both Fern and Edgar embark - separately - on strange journeys, leaving their small children defenseless at home. Amazingly, they both seem to have plenty of ready cash to partake of their self-indulgent journeys of discovery and of course, nothing bad happens to the children. Not sure what the author was trying to convey - and she is very prone to run-on sentences that should have been broken up - but all I saw was some pretty sad, selfish and self-centered people.
Profile Image for Peebee.
1,459 reviews25 followers
August 2, 2016
So I liked this book a lot, but it's not quite a true 5, more like a 4.5. But I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, because I found the whole story fascinating, especially when I realized that given the dates in the book, I and my brother are the same age as Cricket and her brothers. That led to a whole side novel in my head where I thought about what I would have done had my parents just suddenly disappeared and I was in charge of getting us fed and to school. The book wasn't really about Cricket and her brothers -- it was about the grownups who were behaving badly, more like children, when the money was taken away. I didn't care for them so much, but I'm glad they were set on a path to learn valuable life lessons.
Profile Image for Mainlinebooker.
1,078 reviews60 followers
July 8, 2016
The title says it all, but the problem is that the money they thought they had and were entitled to has been stripped away. Unfortunately I thought this was too breezy a book, and could have delved much more into how deeply the loss affected their lives. I didn't feel the characters, esp the husband would have made some of the choices he did, nor did I feel there was any way a 4th grader, privileged as she was, could have handled herself in the manner portrayed (without giving away the plot)..so...it is a no go.
Profile Image for Karen Foster.
674 reviews2 followers
August 7, 2016
I do love me some 'rich white people problems' in the summer.... This book is as if 'fates and furies' and 'the affair' had a baby... Gorgeous prose, unlikeable yet complex and compelling characters, and endlessly quotable lines... I could have underlined something on every page.
February 12, 2017
I tried to love the characters and failed! :( I tried to like the characters and failed! :( I tried to understand where they come from and sympathize with the characters and failed! :( I read the book to the last page and the only thing I liked, was that I was done with this book.
Profile Image for Gigi.
474 reviews
July 2, 2016
One of the best dysfunctional family novels I've read because it's so much more than that. Creative, honest snippets of life, love and family.
24 reviews1 follower
July 27, 2016
Never boring. The first book I've finished in a long time. I definitely recommend. It wasn't the pull of the story, insomuch as the author's prose. It was beautiful and artistic.
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