The Week Ahead: September 29-October 5, 2008

Looks like another busy week for me. Here’s what it looks end from my side of the planet:

Monday, September 29, 2008 – It’s Fall Break for my kids. No school for a week but they are going to daycare and there are some fun things scheduled. It’s also Banned Books Week. Planning to post a giveaway later this morning. In the afternoon I have yoga and then my son has rehearsal for The Music Man in the evening. Still trying to read The Meaning of Night. I am liking it a lot, but 700 pages?? I have to finish it by Thursday.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 – Not much going on during the work day except lunch with an old director. Not that HE is old, but that he is my previous director. Oh! There is also a library book sale today. I will check it out. Later this afternoon I find out if my son has a callback for The Music Man. I have a hair appointment this evening (thank goodness) and then going out to dinner with a friend for her birthday. Plan to do some research on The Meaning of Night as well so I can take the info to my book group meeting later this week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 – I’ve been asked to do a guest lecture for a Communications class here on campus. It’s been difficult getting any info out of this professor so hopefully it will go well. This afternoon, more yoga. Will hopefully finish The Meaning of Night tonight while my son is at callbacks (assuming he gets one).

Thursday, October 2, 2008 – Teaching a class this morning. Book group tonight. Can’t wait. I also hope to begin my next read, In The Woods, by Tana French. I got this book from Jill and have been dying to read it.

Friday, October, 3 2008 – Nothing big planned at work. This evening my husband is taking my son to a high school football game. I will stay home with kidlet #2 and hopefully do some reading.

The Weekend – Saturday we are having a family BBQ to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, which is on Oct. 7th. Sunday we are having a huge party and she has invited all of her classmates. It’s at one of those inflatable party houses. No set-up or clean-up. Well worth it if you ask me.

That’s it for now. Anything special planned for your week?


Run, by Ann Patchett

I received my copy of Run, by Ann Patchett as part of Gayle’s online book club over at Everyday I Write The Book. Thank you Gayle! If you’d like to read some of the comments from the group, click here.

Now, on with the review. Here is the blurb from Barnes & Noble:

It’s a winter evening in Boston and the temperature has drastically dropped as a blizzard approaches the city. On this fateful night, Bernard Doyle plans to meet his two adopted sons, Tip the older, and more serious and Teddy, the affectionate dreamer, at a Harvard auditorium to hear a speech given by Jesse Jackson. Doyle, an Irish Catholic and former Boston mayor, has done his best to keep his two sons interested in politics, from the day he and his now deceased wife became their parents, through their childhoods, and now in their lives as college students. Though the two boys are African-American, the bonds of the family’s love have never been tested. But as the snow begins to fall, an accident triggers into motion a series of events that will forever change their lives.

The accident leaves Tip injured and an unknown women in critical condition. Shortly after the accident, they learn from the woman’s 11 year-old daughter, Kenya, that there is more to the story and that Kenya and her mother, have been keeping a secret for quite some time. This secret affects the Doyle’s in many ways and makes them question what’s important. As a result of the accident, they are all thrown together and forced to be around each other. This creates quite a bit of tension and awkwardness.

In my opinion, this is a story about family. It’s also a story about identity and acceptance. Tip and Teddy struggle with who they are and what they are expected to become. Doyle, their adopted father, wants the best for them but he wants very specific things. Teddy tries to do right by him in order to please him, but Tip wants to be his own person and refuses to give in to his father’s wants. Even Sullivan, Doyle’s biological son is at odds with who is is.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoy character driven stories but I do not feel that these characters were fully developed and I was left wanting to know more about them. This was especially the case with the older brother, Sullivan. His is such a tragic story. When he was younger, he was involved in a car accident and his girlfriend was killed. Instead of offering support to his grieving son, Doyle convinces Sullivan to go along with the idea that the girlfriend was in fact behind the wheel, and not Sullivan. Being the Mayor at the time, Doyle felt compelled to protect his family in this way. However, that act ended up pushing his son away from him for good.

The relationship that Doyle has with all of his children is really quite sad. His expectations remain high and he never learns, even in crisis, the importance of self-worth. Yet even with all of his faults, you can sort of see why he wants each of his kids to live a certain way. I’m sure many parents want the best for their children but go about it the wrong way. That part is very realistic.

I should mention that much of this book is told within a 24 hour timeframe. This created a sense of “hurry” and gave it a claustrophobic feeling at times which further emphasized the frustration and angst between all of the characters. Although I felt the story could have gone a different way, overall I enjoyed the characters and would definitely read another book by Patchett. I just wish that some of the characters came away with more than what they started with.

Book Club Girl recently hosted a radio show with Ann Patchett. It’s a great interview and hearing what she had to say helped me understand the story a bit more. To check out the radio show, click here.

Chatting with friends about books and life…