A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don't think I've ever read Ann Tyler before, and I don't know why. I thoroughly enjoyed this story about the Whitshank family. Red and Abby Whitshank have raised their family in a home built by Red's father for a wealthy client. When the home gets too big for the original family, his father, Junior Whiteshank, purchases the home which becomes a focal point for the story. The Whitshanks consider themselves a loving, perfect family, and from the outside that's what they look like. In reality, it's not perfect, and there is a great deal of anger and jealously carefully compartmentalized. From Junior's feeling of entrapment to his grandson's nonconformity with family expectations, each member of the family struggles to balance reality with their family myths. The plot isn't linear, and time jump reveals new insight into why the characters behave as they do. I don't usually like nonlinear narratives, but this time it really works. The book is sad and funny at the same time, and captures the reality of family relationships quite well.
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