This is a kind of collection of short stories or more so a novel in story form from 1986. The set up is a group of children from a Catholic family in New England (the father and mother were a Harvard hockey star and figure skater respectively). The stories begins in the late 1960s with the middle child (more or less presumably our author) telling about the family structure. Each subsequent story is told by a third person narrator. The third person narrator was less interesting, and the family became increasingly less interesting story after story. I found myself wanting the novel that the opening story seemed to suggest we were getting, a rambunctious group of kids, more or less latch key kids with overburdened parents taking care of each other.
Instead it was kind of banal family novel that was more inventive (and not overly inventive) than interesting. It’s rough when a book subverts expectations, but I like my expectations better. Moving the narration from the voice of the child to a third person felt like the biggest misstep.
I don’t remember how I first came across this book, but I was struck by the various claims about it on the cover. “Best Seller”and all that. Big claims, but this is a book that hasn’t really stuck around in people’s conscious, as it happened. I ultimately felt like there was a promise undelivered, but I was also interested in the promotions on the outside of the book, thinking about how they relate to the book promoting industry these days.