Tag Archives: Families

Review: Henry, Himself

Henry, Himself
By Stewart O’Nan
Viking, 9780735223042, April 9, 2019, 384pp.

The Short of It:

Thoroughly enjoyed visiting with these characters again.

The Rest of It:

There are three books about the Maxwell family:

Wish You Were Here
Emily, Alone
and lastly, Henry, Himself

In the first book, we already know of Henry’s passing and witnessed its effect on the family he left behind. In the second book, we focus on Emily, Henry’s wife and how everything has changed and how she suddenly finds herself on her own. In Henry, Himself, we go back to Henry’s last time at the lake house, before Wish You Were Here.

Are you still with me?

In Henry, Himself, O’Nan makes it clear that Henry’s days are numbered which adds a layer of sadness to the story. In fact, even Henry is aware that the day is coming.

What you should know about these books is that they are day-in-the-life type reads. Henry and Emily go about their days making sandwiches, painting window trimming, taking Rufus for a walk. When a holiday weekend comes up, they pack it up and head for their house on Lake Chautauqua and all their adult kids and their kids descend upon the place for a few days. As with any family, there are family struggles to deal with and nothing brings them out like togetherness.

I have to tell you, even though there isn’t a lot of action to speak of, I adore these books. There is something comforting about routine. The whole process of packing up one house to go to your lake house and vice versa is so soothing. I’m not even sure why. Henry’s willingness to be the “yes” guy to all of Emily’s requests, although sometimes grudgingly, is sweet. But aging can be a beast too and O’Nan reminds us of that.

In summary, all of the books together tell the story of a family that has been through  many challenges but somehow manages to always come together when they need to. I’ve loved all of the books in this series and I have hope that Rufus (the dog) will get his own book soon.

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

Review: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty
By Joshilyn Jackson
Grand Central Publishing, 9780446582360, 2012, 352pp.

The Short of It:

A thoroughly engaging story about three generations trying to live the best life they can, but battling demon after demon along the way.

The Rest of It:

Liza is a “grown-up kind of pretty” which gets her in trouble more times than her mom “Big” can count. Boys are not her issue, but men? Grown men, preferably married ones are what catch her eye. Drugs too. But when Liza becomes pregnant at the age of fourteen, Big becomes her fierce protector.

Years later, when Liza’s daughter Mosey enters her own teen years, Liza suffers a massive stroke which leaves Big as Mosey’s primary caregiver. Big’s sole purpose in life is to keep Mosey from going down the same path as Liza. But Liza has many secrets. Some of which Big is just now discovering and include something buried in the back yard.

I have to tell you. I have had this book on my shelf for a long, long time. Seven years. Possibly more.  One of the Instagram accounts I follow posted a photo of the book and since she was reading it, and I happened to have it, I joined her. So glad I did. This book has it all and it’s not full of fluff, which the cover might lead you to believe. It reminded me a lot of Steel Magnolias. You know how the women stuck together no matter what? Plus, Jackson can write her fanny off.  These characters leap off the page with all their faults but I still loved them.

If you need a quick read but one that is kind of fun but deep at the same time, go find a copy of A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty.

Source: I won this copy in a giveaway!
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.