Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Few Comments: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

 There's a saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting that you'll get different results.  I must qualify as insane.  In spite of having read other works by this author, none of which I ever liked,  I keep reading her books because they are set in my hometown. In spite of the fact that her portrayal of my hometown Baltimore is often spot on, the characters in her books are always, always, always such down in the dumps, dreary, depressing, discouraging, and miserable human beings that I finish the book and immediately want to burn it.

This one continues the string of misery. It is the story of a woman raising children in the 1950s without the assistance (either physical or financial) of the father of those children.  The different attitudes and aptitudes of the three children are sharply drawn, but still depressing.  I know there are many who find these well written worthwhile stories.  I'm not one of them.  The publisher recaps it:
Pearl Tull is nearing the end of her life but not her memory. It was a Sunday night in 1944 when her husband left the little row house on Baltimore's Calvert Street, abandoning Pearl to raise their three children alone: Jenny, high-spirited and determined, nurturing to strangers but distant to those she loves; the oldest son, Cody, a wild and incorrigible youth possessed by the lure of power and money; and sweet and clumsy Ezra, Pearl's favorite, who never stops yearning for the "perfect" family that could never be his own. Now grown, they have gathered together again-with anger, with hope, and with a beautiful, harsh, and dazzling story to tell.
I only mention this here because when I started this blog, I intended it to be as much a reading journal as a review mechanism.  So in this case, Reader beware.  If you're into family tragedy, this one's for you.  If you're looking for lighter summer reading this time of year, I'd look elsewhere.

Title: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
Author: Anne Tyler
Publisher: Ballantine Books (1996), Edition: First, Paperback, 303 pages 
Genre: contemporary fiction
Subject: family relationships
Setting: Baltimore MD
Source: public library
Why did I read this book now? I wish I knew.


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