Review: French Braid

French Braid

French Braid
By Anne Tyler
Knopf, 9780593321096, March 2022, 256pp.

The Short of It:

Families. They expand, and evolve but not always in good ways.

The Rest of It:

The Garretts take a family vacation. Their first and last one in the summer of ’59.  Mercy and Robin’s marriage is strained by Mercy’s desire to paint again. Paint again, in another house, away from her husband, for days on end. Their adult kids are all living their own lives but in a detached, “from afar” way. All of them linked by blood but communication is not their strong suit. They find out about each other’s big life events from others.

This was a strange little read. The family dynamic was interesting but I didn’t find myself pulling for anyone in this story, really. It seemed to span too many years, decades actually and as the story unfolds it meanders along until it wraps up, in what I felt, was a very abrupt way. I think I would have liked it better if the story centered around Mercy and Robin’s marriage alone.

Anne Tyler is a great storyteller. I’ve enjoyed many of her novels but this one left something to be desired.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

9 thoughts on “Review: French Braid”

  1. Yeah spanning decades then ending abruptly can be tough for readers. I’m thinking I will skip this one. I have a copy of her book A Spool of Blue Thread I still need to read sometime!

  2. I liked this one but, agree, it wasn’t a favorite and, I thought the story would have been better if it didn’t try to cover so much and so long a period of time.

  3. I was on the library hold list for this one, then started seeing some lukewarm reviews. Finally my mother read it… she told me skip French Braid and read one of her backlist titles I may have missed instead. Sounds like good advice!

    1. The meaning behind the title is mentioned briefly and it was such an interesting perspective but it wasn’t thoroughly pursued and was just left by the wayside.

  4. Too bad this one is disappointing. I always feel that there are so many good books out there that when I read one I don’t love, I feel a bit cheated.

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