Marvin's Reviews > The Year We Left Home

The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson
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's review
Mar 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: midwest
Read from March 12 to 14, 2012

This is an extremely well-written, psychologically rich portrait of a couple of generations of an extended family from rural Iowa. Lots of stuff to talk about in each chapter, which shift the focus from one family member to another, with special focus on a son/brother who leaves to make good in Chicago and a male cousin who leaves to make no good in Seattle and elsewhere before returning to Iowa. The other characters stick around: the daughter/sister who marries young and struggles to make that work while trying to control everyone else's life, the son/brother, a contractor, with a similar life but apparently more comfortable in his life & skin, and a daughter/sister damaged by a tragic accident who gradually claims her independence to make a life for herself. I can understand how some readers might get impatient with this, but I found it a rich, rewarding, complex, and believable portrait of life in rural Iowa. (Listened to a well-read audio version of this.)

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