My book club’s selections tend to skew towards generational turmoil and great cover art. This method has yielded some good ones and some clunkers. This one? Well, it falls somewhere in the middle.
The Brennans are an upper middle class family living in a commuter town north of New York City. Both the mother and father are Irish immigrants who carved out a suburban white picket fence life for their four children: Denny the popular athlete, Jackie the senstive artist screw up, Sunday the dependable one (until she isn’t) and Shane, the youngest, who is neurodivergent. All but Sunday and their Mother, who has died of cancer, still live in the family home.
Shane works at the local grocery store. Denny and his childhood friend (and Sunday’s ex-boyfriend) Kale own a pub and are in the process of expanding to another location. Jackie is on parole from a drug charge, making art in the attic and working as needed at the pub. Mickey, their father, is enjoying a life of retirement after owning his own construction business.
On the surface, everything seems to be going okay. Sure, Mickey is beginning to experience some memory issues and questionable driving skills. Okay, Denny may be fielding some money and marriage hiccups. But, everything is chugging along until Sunday returns home from Los Angeles after abruptly leaving five years before. Her homecoming starts a change reaction that unravels the “perfect” life the Brennans have presented over the years. All of the family secrets start hemorrhaging all over the place.
My hot take is that this book reads like an Edward Burns script from the mid 1990s. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it. It’s one of those books that I would totally enjoy as a limited series on Hulu. Saoirse Ronan as Sunday. Timothée Chalamet as Jackie. You get the idea. A quick read but I’d rather watch it.