Richard Russo is a masterful storyteller. I always enjoy falling into one of his novels, filled with a rich cast of characters. He manages to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary, as he examines common people in small town Americana.
This book is a sequel to “Nobody’s Fool” that I read back in 2011. I took a look at that review to see what I had to say about it, as a precursor to this novel.
“Russo is one of my favorite authors because of his ability to weave incredible narratives with layered and believable characters. It almost feels as if you aren’t reading a book, instead it seems like you are listening in on a real town and the triumphs and failures of daily life. Highly recommend this read, but know you need patience. I think Russo’s novels are like Seinfeld in that they are in some ways, “about nothing” so if you are waiting on plot twists and turns, you may be disappointed.”
Eesh. 2011 Ashlie sure didn’t do a lot of polishing on he book reviews. But I digress. The review could be the same for book two. If you enjoy reflecting on the plights of the every day man, and woman, than Russo is the author for you. I think you could enjoy this book if you didn’t read the first one, but would miss out on a few little moments. I didn’t reread the first before this one, but I did skim the Wikipedia so that I had a handle on the who, where, what, and when, which was helpful.
I went with four stars for this book because there was just one character who was so awful, not awfully written, but a bad person, who left a bad taste in my mouth at every turn, and I didn’t like the portrayal of the domestic abuse that Russo was telling (woman being shamed by her mother for her behavior) but I think it was an unfortunately realistic angle to take.
If you haven’t read Russo before I would start with Nobody’s Fool, or one of the other books first, and then tackle this one later, but it is certainly worth the read.