Review: The Turner House

The Turner House

The Turner House
By Angela Flournoy
Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780544303164, April 2015, 352pp.

The Short of It:

What makes a house a home?

The Rest of It:

The house on Yarrow Street, once a thriving hub for thirteen children in the middle of Detroit’s crumbling East Side, has seen its members come and go for over fifty years. Now, falling apart and worth much less than what they paid for it, the family is forced to sell it back to the bank.

I really enjoyed this flawed family. Granted, there are a lot of characters in this story to keep track of and I’m not sure that all of their stories were as interesting as some, but the gambling addiction of the youngest sibling was particularly interesting to me as was the “haint” or ghostly apparition that the oldest sibling grew up with.

When you’ve lived in a house for as long as the Turners have, it’s impossible to not have feelings about it even when the neighborhood around it has gone to hell. And how many times have we been willing to let something go only to change our minds once the sale sign is up? It just seems so final, right?

That is the case here but this isn’t a sad, sappy story about losing a home. It’s much more subtle in the telling. Flournoy focuses on the flaws of each family member, allowing the reader to get to know them a little, see the home from their eyes, walk in their shoes, etc.

For me, it took me a little while to get into the story but once I did, I found that I really enjoyed it. It was a National Book Award finalist and extremely well-received when it debuted. Have you read it?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

14 thoughts on “Review: The Turner House”

  1. I have not read this one. I’ve seen it around, but wasn’t to sure about it. Have to admit that you make it sound like a book I will enjoy. I love that we get a variety of perspectives. And its true, once the ‘for sale’ sign is up, we suddenly waver on whether or not it should be sold.

    1. Well, dysfunction is definitely something I can relate to but often times the books about dysfunctional families are on the extreme side, which always make me feel better about my childhood.

      If there is a story about a dysfunctional family living in suburbia then I am ALL crazy for the darn thing.

  2. I have not read this one, but it did extremely well in last year’s Tournament of Books. I was interested enough to procure a copy of it but of course it is still waiting on my shelves. Maybe this will be the year?

    1. I was so sad when we left our last house because it was where I brought both of my kids home from the hospital. First house. All that. I was also a mess when I traded my last car on too. Apparently I am a sentimental fool.

  3. I read it and I super liked it! I don’t like family sagas and I really don’t like magic realism. Both of these elements are in The Turner House and yet I still liked it, which tells me that Angela Flournoy is a genius. Also, she has Disney princess eyes and I am jealous of her.

  4. I have not read this one, but have seen it around and a couple posts about it. It seems a notable read. thx for the review

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