Did You Ever Have a Family
“Masterly.” —The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews's Best of 2015
Library Journal's Top Ten Best Books of 2015
Booklist's Top Ten First Novels
The stunning debut novel from bestselling author Bill Clegg is a magnificently powerful story about a circle of people who find solace in the least lik ...more
More lists with this book...
June Reid's daughter Lolly, Lolly's fiance Will, her ex-husband and her now boyfriend Luke are killed in a fire while June has to watch. It's on the eve of her daughter's wedding.
The aftermat ...more
I didn't cry...
I didn't laugh...
I was curious as hell...and intrigued as can be!
The writing is gorgeous
The characters - 'each' will surprise you with tales, memories, scars.
What distinguishes this novel from all others? It's a question that must be asked ...
.... Because even if you're not certain of the answer, you are certain that there is definitely a distinction!!!!
Do not miss reading this novel! It's absolutely one of ...more
It's the perfect summer morning for a wedding...but June's daughter will not live to see it...nor will anyone else she loves.
June loses everything on this perfect summer's day.
She loses her daughter... her ex husband...her boyfriend...her house...
She loses her life as she knew it- but luckily ...more
The truth will set you free......
This explosively tragic story of devastating loss has a complex narration told from many different perspectives that I found confusing throughout a good portion of the book.
There is a great story here though that comes together nicely in the last quarter, but overall, it was a somewhat frustrating read for me with an overabundance of minor characters who distracted from the main event.
Based on the high ratings and wonderful reviews, I'm feeling pretty...more
WOW, just WOW! I cannot believe how much this book completely hooked me right from the start. Just as I was getting to know some of the characters, I was thrown into a horrible tragedy. A wedding scene, an explosion, what went wrong? I felt I was already there with them, that immediate sense of connection, knowing each and every survivors life would be forever altered. I love character studies, and the author, Bill Clegg, ma ...more
This is a story of tragic proportions. June Reid’s life is turned on its axis when an accident takes her loved ones. In her despair, she leaves - blinded with loss. In her wake, the small town talks. And feels. And grieves. What emerges are stories and memories, shared hopes and fears of those whose lives were lost and th ...more
After a woman loses her entire family in an accident, she packs up and drives away, without telling anyone where she’s going or who she is. Through the perspectives of a dozen or so narrators, we have to piece together what happened.
It’s potentially affecting material, for sure, but the narrators all sound alike, whether they’re middle-aged women or teenage boys. Clegg, whose addiction memoir ...more
"Did you Ever Have A Family" begins after the most unspeakable of tragedies occurs to June Reid. An ...more
They were all preparing for a joyous wedding. The flowers were picked, the cake was baked, the tent stood majestically ready in the back yard of the old stone house. The guest were all in town already; the rehearsal dinner went exceptionally well. The happiness of the bride and groom was soft on the eyes, their love was unbelievably true.
Four people died in an explosion. Lolly, Will, Luke and Adam.
On the wedding day a funeral was held instead. The volunteer firefighters wa ...more
The title Did You Ever Have A Family asks that question and so much more. I don’t think you could read this poignant debut without examining the relationships with those surrounding us. The death of a loved one or of one we ha ...more
Ignore the three-point-eight-something Goodreads rating. Did You Ever Have A Family has an unheard of 4.36 from my friends and those people have some serious diversity when it comes to what they like and don’t like. It’s that rating that had me finally check this book out – but it’s also that rating that had me terrified to do so.
If you’re like me and Christmas is a major fake-it-‘til-you-make-it type of holiday, a book like this is t ...more
[Read this paragraph only if punctuation can ruin your day.] For example, there’s the title. Only a crazy grammar Nazi would be annoyed that the book title didn’t have correct punctuation, but there you have it. I just want to know where the damn question mark is. (I have to admit that often ...more
One minute you have a family, and the next you do not. It's too awful to even contemplate. In the aftermath, you are left to make some sort of peace with mistakes made, things taken for granted, words left unsaid. So much rides on seemingly unimportant decisions made each day, yet the result of just one of them can impact the rest of your life.
As always, human nature's fascination with placing b ...more
This novel is mournful, miserable and mawkish. The lives of its intwined cast of small-town characters are intricate, inspissate and integ ...more
This book just got better and better. I didn't like the format of the alternating narrators at first, with some in first person and some in second person, but once the book got rolling I forgot about it and got in the rhythm of the narrative.
The story starts with an unfathomable family tragedy and then gently pulls apart the tangled backstories of the main characters and others more peripheral to the story - but even the bit players are important here. I think ...more
"Some people... magically surface in these horrible moments, knowing exactly what to do, which spaces to fill."I had this book on my radar, even had read the Amazon preview after it was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award last year. I was skeptical because Bill Clegg is a well-loved literary agent, and it felt a little nepotistic that his first novel should end up on such major award lists. So I didn't pursue reading it at the time.
I was glad to get the chance to give ...more
"I've learned that people will believe what they believe no matter what you say or do."
The night before June Reid's daughter is to get married, an unexpected tragedy takes the lives of her daughter and her fiancé, as well as June's ex-husband and h ...more
Yes the trag ...more
Still pondering and contemplating this story, need time to thoroughly process it, but the prose and the storytelling was enticing enough to force me to put on hold everything else I was reading...
In Did You Ever Have a Family, Bill Clegg tells us this story through the use of multiple narrators. Clegg has a sensitivity for the many ways in which people fail themselves and each other and I found his deeply wounded characters touching. They all became forgivable in the humanness, even when they did things tha ...more
Bill Clegg uses several characters to explore the toll a tragedy can have on many different people. At one point, chapter afte ...more
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