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Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine
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Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,184 ratings  ·  157 reviews
This novel begins in 1969, and as Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paints are splashing the latest anti-war slogans. Suzanne, a poet, lives in a Maine beach house awaiting the birth of a love child she will name Sparrow. Claudia, who weds a farmer during college, plans to raise three strong sons. And Elizabeth and Howard marry, organize protest marches, a ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 15th 1998 by Picador (first published 1987)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  1,184 ratings  ·  157 reviews

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May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I first read this novel when I was the age of the teenagers who are portrayed, and have kept it and re-read until now I'm older than the parents in the novel.

When I look at it critically, I can see some of the critiques that others have brought up, but I am so struck every time I read it by some new nuance. It has resonated for nearly 30 years, and will continue to do so, I suspect.
Kim Kaso
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bound-together
A 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 as it suited my mood and read quickly. Very much a first book, which the author took to Bread Loaf as what she thought were short stories, and her writing instructor told her they were chapters in a novel. It is an enjoyable and easy to read book, but the characters felt a bit flat, as if she needed 60s archetypes--hippie earth mother, flower child who suffered later mental illness and tragedy, good girl who rebelled a little and became a buttoned down business type.. ...more
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
An unsatisfying book, beginning to end. Hood is a new author for me--picked the book up in a resale shop, because it was a story about three girls who meet in college in the late sixties. The narrative traces their stories until the mid-80s (when the book was written).

Maybe I would have liked it more if I read it when it was new--and I was the same age as the characters--but probably not, as the story never seemed to catch fire, offer any surprises or enlighten the reader with conclusions or ins
Aug 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Love Ann Hood's writing. This book was a bit too predictable though. It's about three college friends in the sixties and it explores the paths they choose after college. The book shifted from past to present a lot and it was a bit unsettling for me.
Sep 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
Awkward ending, just dropped off. Truly enjoyed her newest, The Knitting Circle but forget this one--disappointing
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Beautifully written but incredibly sad!
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Brilliant....[The Vietnam era] is vividly captured by Ann Hood."--New York Times Book Review

In 1969, as Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paints are splashing the latest antiwar slogans, three friends find love. Suzanne, a poet, lives in a Maine beach house awaiting the birth of a child she will call Sparrow. Claudia, who weds a farmer during college, plans to raise three strong sons. Elizabeth and her husband marry, organize protests, and try to rear two children with their hi
Sarah Sammis
Nov 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In an interview on Suite 101, Ann Hood describes writing her debut novel, Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine long hand during long flights. She was working at the time as a flight attendant. Knowing the circumstances of how the book explains for me the dominant theme of the book: the resurfacing of memories, good and bad in a time of personal reflection.

The novel begins with Sparrow, a teenager, wanting to know about her father. To her, he is only a man in faded photograph. She wants to meet him.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I love Ann Hood's writing but this novel did not appeal to me. I finished it but wondered what exactly was the point of this novel. Friendship gone awry? Lost love? I was aggravated that I wasted two days reading this book.
Lisa Kost
I thought this book had potential when I started reading it, but then somewhere it the middle it lost it for me. And the ending - was there an ending ? It seemed to me that the author also got bored with the story and just stopped writing.
Dec 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book needed more to explain the actions of many of the main characters. Perhaps less of them and more background on each? This definitely felt like a first novel for the author, lots of potential but not there yet.
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I read this a long, long time ago and I loved it. I subsequently devoured everything else that Ann Hood wrote but for some reason, this is the one that sticks with me.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
A quick but somewhat unsatisfying read. The characters weren't developed enough to satisfy my need for details. The abrupt ending was unsettling, like the author was tired of writing.
Neil D.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is a masterpiece. Primarily focusing on two young couples and the differences between their approaches to the life, "Somewhere Off The Coast of Maine" takes you on a journey of personal growth, moral mazes, and the meaning of responsibility. Ultimately, one is left to conclude that responsibility for one's actions need not involve accepting the powers that be and their exploits. One can take personal responsibility and still live a life of protest, when appropriate. Mailing in your pr ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book by Ann Hood and I can confidently say that I will be looking into the rest of her work. I thought this novel was fantastic and enjoyed it throughly. Originally I was not going to leave a review but because of the fact that days after finishing this book and I cannot seem to get it out of my mind - here I am. This is a book about three friends who meet in college and then take different paths to continue their journey in life. I think this is one of the truest books I have ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Picked up Hood's first book because I had read a couple of her others and really enjoyed them. I actually liked most of it, contrary to some reviews, though I thought the writing was simple and it read as an author's first book. None of that mattered to me; I liked the straight-forwardness of the words, though the time and character jumps confused me. I was just starting to easily switch between them when the book ended. Abruptly. Seemingly in the middle of a chapter. So I emailed Overdrive and ...more
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think of this book as more a character study than a story. Yet it does have the intertwined stories of the three women it follows. They are from three different backgrounds, meet up and become serious friends in college. Each has a different approach to life but together become new people... experimenting with new lifestyles which lead them quite different adulthoods. The writing is good, the characters well developed, but I came away less than enchanted. However, now that I'm writing the revi ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-fiction
While at college three distinct characters, Claudia, Suzanne, and Elizabeth meet and become unlikely friends. This intersection of their lives comes and goes leaving each of them changed forever.

Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine is a study in relationships and personalities through a series of vignettes. Against a background of two distinct time periods (the carefree hippie era of the late 1960s and the age of peace and stability in the 1980s), it exposes the fragility of mental balance and well
alison spekterman
Moody and vivid, "Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine," evokes the restlessness of the 1960s. I was drawn to the characters but sometimes frustrated at the lack of depth of their development. The reader must take certain issues at face value and move on. Why, for instance, does Elizabeth simply accept Claudia moving to California on a whim? Where is Peter in this decision, or for that matter, where is Henry? Why has everyone simply accepted Claudia's state? Most unsatisfactory, however, is the book ...more
Jennifer Fitzpatrick
An interesting debut novel (1987), but it seemed a little disjointed to me, jumping from person to person, year to year, past to present. Hood has definitely refined her skills over the years. This tale of youthful decisions and regrets, loves lost and hopes dashed, set in the ‘60s, is a quick read. And if you’re my age, or there about, you can relate to the changes over time, the friends you had when you were young and the memories you made.
This was an okay book A little formulaic, but good for a quick and easy read. I didn't like Hood's technique of revealing backstory through conversations where two characters are remembering their past together. It's just not believable to me, and it happened a lot because the story goes back and forth over decades.
Cynthia Vengraitis
I liked the story which bounced back and forth from 3 young woman who become college friends in the 1960s and the story of their children later in the 1980s. But the characters and dialogue often seemed stilted and one dimensional. I often found the behavior of some of the characters frustrating. It was a quick read and held my attention but I felt let down by it, especially the ending.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time I've read this author...a bit dicey in parts, reminded me of the song, 80's ladies...followed 3 girls from college in the hippie/Vietnam war era to older adulthood...all totally different paths and challenges. May try one more of her books to see if better (author was high recommendation of librarian friend).
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was OK but I didn’t really like how many chronology was laid out. That made it confusing at times. You have to feel sorry for Claudia and Elizabeth and wonder what is really going on with Suzanne. I want to read more of of Ann Hood to get a feel for her writing.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
fun read but not at all as well written and developed as her later novels
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book up till the end... it just dropped off with no real resolution in my opinion.
Kathleen Cali
Although the story was enjoyable, the ending seems unfinished and was a disappointment. The story of the three women's connection and ultimate choices felt incomplete.
Jay Pal
The ending was...bad.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good characters--just rather thin--
Lynn Cutting
Not bad but a sad story and a sad ending.
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Ann Hood is the editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting and the bestselling author of The Book That Matters Most, The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, Comfort, and An Italian Wife, among other works. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, a Best American Food Writing Award, a Best American Travel Writing Award, and the Paul Bowles Prize for Shor ...more

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