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Crooked Hearts

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  13 reviews
An extraordinarily moving first novel about a charming, gifted, but doomed American family in Arizona.
Published (first published 1987)
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  136 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Becca Loo
it's about a boy who drops out of college and goes back home to live with his family to figure things out. his family is unconventional in that they always have a party for big failures. i like his family because they seem so real. they don't get along sometimes but it's cute. as always shit has to happen and it's completely unexpected so it works well. i only cried a few times but it felt really good. the ending made me sad and i wish he didnt make it so tragic but oh well. overall the story wa ...more
Taylor Leatrice Werner
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I could definitely tell this was Boswell's first novel. I have pretty serious dug everything of his I've read, and this was no exception. There were places, though, where dialogue or characters' actions felt wooden. Still loved it!
Laura Cushing
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A slice of life story about the dysfunctional Warren family in the 1970s. Some of their dysfunction is fun and quirky, like throwing a party ever time someone fails at life. But there are darker dysfunctions, hints of mental illness, and anger between family members.

Some stick together, some try to escape.

The family is well depicted, and you really feel for them. Minus one star however because there is no big growth moment or overarching plot beyond the family that I felt that story could have
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
A story about the breakdown of the Warren family. When they are introduced they seem charmingly eccentric and quirky. Later, the charm slips away and the true anger and dysfunction appears. This was a first novel for Boswell and seems to have some typical first novel errors. The characters are interesting and the story has potential but it falls into melodrama by the end. When Tom Warren drops out of Berkley and returns home the family throws a party. The party is not necessarily for his homecom ...more
Alex Stone
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The first 75% of this book was incredible. So good, that it warranted a 5 star review from me. The characters are complicated and living, the prose is mature and smooth, and the story is perfect. The last quarter of the book is by no means bad; I just thought that Robert put in a little bit too much plot. That is to say, if just one of the big events from the final acts were omitted, and it wouldn't matter which of the those events; I think the book would've been a little stronger.
All of that
Mar 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is not a happy story, but I recommend reading this book. It's been a while now since I read it, so I don't remember it very well, but it is about a family and their troubles in getting along. The characters are well described, and I felt a great loss when my favorite character was accidentally killed. This family has so many difficulties to face, yet all are overcome with a party. Even the death of a son. This would be an interesting book to talk about.
May 30, 2013 rated it did not like it
I found this far less stimulating than the "wise, finished, and frequently brilliant" story someone at The New Yorker must have read. The characters marinated in flaws, as dysfunctional a family you'd ever hope to run across, there is no plot to speak of - just a period of time in this impulsive and chaotic family and three days in my life I'll never get back.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Maybe more of a 4.5? Just when I didn't think the story could possibly get any sadder it did. Almost too sad to really like or find realistic given the series of events. The characters were so well rendered though, and the plot so engaging, I found myself unable to put it down despite perhaps things feeling,at times, a bit too neat and tidy and like this would only happen in a novel.
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was assigned to read this by one of my creative writing professors. The writing and craft in this first novel by Boswell continue to set the bar for anyone attempting to explore the idea of family dysfunction. Heartbreaking prose.
May 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. At first I wasn't sure why everyone in the story was so mean to each other, and then I understood...
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
amazing! families really love each other!
Sep 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A dysfunctional family trying to get along the best that they can.
The people in the story are touching and I couldn't help thinking about them after I finished the book.
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Robert Boswell is the author of eleven books, including The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards, a story collection with Graywolf Press, in April 2009. His novels: Century's Son, American Owned Love, Mystery Ride, The Geography of Desire, and Crooked Hearts. His other story collections: Living to Be 100 and Dancing in the Movies. His nonfiction: The Half-Known World, a book on the craft of writing, ...more
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