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The Hole We're in

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  963 ratings  ·  218 reviews
From award winning writer Gabrielle Zevin comes a biting, powerful, and deliciously entertaining novel about an American family and their misguided efforts to stay afloat--spiritually, morally and financially.

Meet the Pomeroys: a church-going family living in a too-red house in a Texas college town. Roger, the patriarch, has impulsively gone back to school, only to find h

Paperback, 283 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Grove Press, Black Cat (first published January 1st 2010)
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Carol Brandt
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book was a downer with no relief. The characters were not likable and never were able to get themselves out of any of the holes they were in. A stark, pessimistic view of life with no silver lining. Not a beach read. More like a book to get you in the mood to cut yourself.
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Impossible to put down. Fantastically well-done look at the varied holes we climb in, climb out of, dig for ourselves, and find ourselves in. This searing family-disfunction/credit-based-society-critique/study of religious fundamentalism left the earth pretty scorched, but breathing, bleeding believable characters kept me turning pages as fast as I could read.
Roger, trying to finish his PhD, leaves his wife Georgia to take care of family finances while he focuses on his dissertation- which he h
Sep 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
It took me ages, since release (I pre-ordered it)till now to read this. And so it seems the world ends today May 21st, 2011 (later in the day I guess, and maybe it is a time zone thing). Good timing to be reading a book about fundamentalist Adventist Christians. Solipsism FTW.

The reason it took me those ages to read this might be because frankly, the blurb and reviews make it sound like a downer. I need to be in the right mood to want to tackle potentially devastating novels, AND often novels ab
Jan 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I think Gabrielle is a great writer and there was a great story in this book populated with compelling characters; I just wish it wasn’t buried underneath the multitude of curse words on the pages. This book was enthralling but a real downer of a story. It is about the Pomeroy family, Roger, the father and a fanatical seventh day adventist, George his long-suffering wife, Victor, the outcast son because he went to Yale and not a religious college, Helen, a daughter with mountains of credit card ...more
John Woodward
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of contemporary fiction
Recommended to John by: Found it at a clearance
This is a book about a family that disintegrates, not because of the members' hedonism, but from their idealism. (Intolerance and bigotry are ideals to those who practice them.) Money and respectability are the main concerns of the parents, and every character must come to terms with these needs. People make choices, and oftentimes are disappointed in themselves afterwards -- but are still stuck with the consequences of those choices. Most of the book takes place in there here-and-now, but the l ...more
Apr 10, 2010 rated it liked it
The story of a fundamentalist Christian family in which half the members seem to be like Nikki in Big Love--unable to stop shopping or admit to their credit card debt--was surprisingly painful to read. Surprisingly painful because none of the characters were likable, and the family situation was so fraught and tense.

Nevertheless, read it I did because, well, I had to see how it would end. Lamely, as it turns out. The first quarter is by far the best; after that, the author moves forward in six y
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
I loved this novel that follows the dysfunctional Pomeroy family, lead by a bland and flawed fundamentalist Christian patriarch, and rounded out by the incredibly well drawn and unique characters of his wife and children. The author uses the motif of holes- physical, financial, emotional-- throughout the book with mastery and without too heavy a hand to illustrate the mundane with such color that it becomes utterly absorbing. I had a difficult time putting this one down once I started reading. G ...more
Kasa Cotugno
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: subj-recession
Better than average drama focussing on issues of today and how they impact one family. Difference between this and most books of this type, at least for me, is that the family is fundamental Christian, employing the restrictions imposed by the church. But this does not take away the outside influences affecting everyone these days. The father's decision to complete his education at the age of 42 forces the entire family to uproot from Tennessee to Texas, plunging them deeper and deeper into debt ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
I had a hard time reading this book because I hated all the characters, in particular the parents. It was very bizarre how no one spoke to each other about anything of importance, just hid everything and it seemed like the parents had zero emotional connections to their own children. I did like the last chapter, I hope that turns out not to be our future!
Roni Ramone
Mar 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was good however, it felt like it was about different things. More money and financial things to begin with, and more religion later on. Overall,good book.
Aug 30, 2012 rated it liked it

I never get tired of variations on "terrible parenting" stories. You think you had it bad? The mother in this story maxes out her credit cards and then applies for credit cards in her adult son's name when the offers appear in the mail. Using his identity, she maxes out credit cards in his name too, practically destroying his credit. The dad, a hypocritical holy roller, denies his youngest daughter her rightful inheritance (from the grandmother) because she refuses to go to a church college. Sin
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
I must respectfully disagree with the above synopsis by Good Reads as must have obviously been written by the publisher. The only point I would agree with is the “flawed and at times infuriating” although I would say ALWAYS infuriating. There is nothing at all to like about the parents in this family nor do I consider them “relatable”. What I would say is that if you are looking for the “poster” parents for some of the world's worst parents, here is your couple. The husband is a narcissistic idi ...more
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, bought-used
The Hole We’re In could more accurately be titled People Making Bad Decisions. And, indeed, for the first half of the novel, it’s queasily compelling to read about Gabrielle Zevin’s “typical Middle American family” as they lie to each other and rack up a crushing amount of debt.

However, Hole begins to unravel around the halfway mark. Story threads are introduced and never developed. (In some cases, story conclusions are deliberately obfuscated and I think Zevin thinks she’s being literary when s
Sep 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is very readable. It follows a mostly unpleasant family, ultimately focusing on one daughter who we see over about 20 years. I enjoyed many parts of the story and some of the characters. There was one weird thing though. Right near the end of the book, a character's 15 year old daughter is getting an abortion, her mom arranges it and goes with her. This takes place in the Eastern US in modern times (the mom served time in Iraq). The book is not an alternative history or anything, it's quite ...more
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
The shift from 'frenetic train wreck' to 'melancholic unfolding' in the first to second halves saved this book from itself. As sharply written as the first half was, it had the flavor of a satirical one-liner. To have carried it any farther would have been exhausting but not illuminating.

As it was, the more wistful and multi-textured second half caused me to reflect on how much of the horrific parents' evil antics might have stemmed from having had children before they were grown-ups themselves.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
One reviewer contends that this novel has people who cannot be admired, but can be loved. That assessment seems too strong. Everyone in and involved with the Pomeroy family makes poor, self-centered decisions that bring on ruin and alienation, leaving scant room for empathy. Even those who suffer from the poor decisions of others (Roger Pomeroy's prominently) elicit only moderate sympathy as they compound their problems with poor judgment. For the most part the author's skewering of religion and ...more
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked how quickly the story moved along, never bogging down in details, but sharply revealing more and more of each character's motivation and insecurities with the passage of time. The treatment of abortion in the future was a bit on the nose. This is a sad, sad, story of pride and selfishness and I couldn't put it down because at first, I related to the characters. In the end, not so much, but by then, I loved them, or felt I knew them at least. On the surface it is a cautionary tale about s ...more
Mar 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
I took this book out of my mailbox this morning, and finished it this evening. It's that compelling. It's about family, hypocrisy, debt, appearances, secrets, love, shame, and holes. Not all of the characters are likeable, but all of them (and their trajectories) are certainly true to life. I will certainly be thinking about this book for a while.
Jun 09, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a really interesting book, really more of a social satire. A pretty damning look at the dark side of evangelical, debt-ridden, and greedy American culture. All of the characters are both truly awful while also very compelling.
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars... I really enjoyed this book for book was an easy read that I couldn't put down. Am looking forward to discussing it in book club!
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Read via Audible. Great read overall. Excellent book for book club, especially for discussing themes of excessive religiosity and its impact on family upbringing.
Desmond Reid
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2018
The American Dream comes at a cost. Eventually, it must be paid.

The Pomeroys of Texas want it all. Roger, heads back to school focused on pursuing his PhD. The reality of their family life falls on his wife Georgia. Overwhelmed, she pushes the bills and demands into the kitchen draw.

The pile grows and grows.

Together they make a series of decisions which will drastically change their lives. Decisions which will impact their children’s lives forever.

Witnessed through the eyes of one religious fami
Karenbike Patterson
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
George and Roger are a clueless, disorganized, and very deep in dept couple. They have 3 children. Roger is a minister who decided he wants a PhD in education and is clueless about his finances while his eldest daughter wants an outrageously expensive wedding. You'll chuckle when you hear about some of the choices this family makes. Vincent becomes a successful screen writer, Patsy serves in the military to get the GI Bill, Helen marries a dentist. The story is mostly about Patsy after she comes ...more
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I downloaded this after reading The Storied Life of A J Fikry. The Hole We're In is completely different in every way. It is a tale of a sad family who makes terrible choices, and have zero coping skills to deal with the consequences. There isn't a single likeable character, yet I still felt compelled to read it to it's sad conclusion. I kept hoping someone would have an "A-ha" moment and turn the plot to a somewhat happy ending...
This was a little difficult to get into because I hated all the characters in the beginning but it became compulsively readable. I really enjoy books about family secrets and this was full of them. The ending left me feeling a bit unsatisfied, but it was a very realistic ending, I'll give it that. Something else I didn't fully understand is why Britney Spears was a theme in the book. Really weird to me.
Teresa Bowman
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars. I mildly enjoyed it, but it was by no means brilliant. There were a ton of unfinished story threads at the end that just felt sloppy. The characters were pretty universally unlikable and I don't mind that too much but if that bothers you, stay away. It also kept jumping forward several years into the future every 40 pages or so and it felt like a cheap plot device so the author didn't have to finish the story where it was.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, so when I spotted another book by Zevin in my library I picked it up. Unfortunately, this one wasn't great. For me it was a slog of a read, about debt and unlikable and unrepentant characters.
May 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was really looking forward to this book - a semi-relatable story by an author I thoroughly enjoyed (Elsewhere). Boy, was I let down. There is not one likable character in this entire novel - they are all selfish and rotten. Although an easy read, I had to force myself to finish it - don't waste your time.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not a great book to read over the Christmas holidays. Very depressing and pessimistic story line with unlikable characters. The overarching theme seemed to be that when you start life in a hole (i.e. poverty, difficult parents, etc.), you spend life digging out of that hole, only to dig yourself into another, until finally you find yourself in the ultimate hole (the grave).
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GABRIELLE ZEVIN is an internationally bestselling author whose books have sold millions of copies and been translated into over thirty languages.

Her eighth novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (2014), spent months on the New York Times Bestseller List, reached #1 on the National Indie Best Seller List, and has been a bestseller all around the world. The Toronto Globe and Mail called the book “a p
“It is lucky, she thinks, that we don’t feel all the love inside us every moment. We couldn’t breathe or walk or eat. It is lucky that it just flares up every now and again then resolves itself into a manageable dormancy.” 2 likes
“You spend your whole life trying to get out of holes. The hole you’re born into because of who your parents are. The hole you dig yourself trying to get out of that first hole. The hole your children are born into is the saddest hole of all. It occurs to her that she has spent most of her life digging herself out of or into one hole or another. And then, in the end, they just lower you into the ground anyway. She whispers a question, kind of like a prayer, if she were the praying sort, to no one in particular, “How in the world do you ever get out?” 2 likes
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