This is the first book that I have read by Anne Tyler: I picked it up on a whim having never heard of her because I came across many of her novels at a book sale and reviews of her work seemed good. I was not terribly impressed by this one, but after finding out this was her first novel, and she wrote it at 22 I may give her another whirl.
Ben Joe is the only son in a house filled with women: mom, sisters, and grandmother. When he finds out that his oldest sister has left her husband to come back home, he takes a break from college and heads home to check on the family. He is the man of the house, ever since his father died, but seems to have never had a firm grasp on his role, or who he is. To borrow a turn of phrase from the fantastic film “Steel Magnolias,” Ben Joe “doesn’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his book.
I would say that this book was almost interesting, but fairly underwhelming. There were some good elements, but I didn’t care for the end. Overall an easy and pleasant enough read, and a great first effort for her age, but not one I’ll keep for the home library.