Oh gosh. I read this book too long ago to review. I have to try and remember the details. French Braid is the story of the Garrett family, told through several vignettes over the course of half a century, each focusing on different family members.
I liked this book. To be honest I like most of Anne Tyler’s books. Reading them is like wrapping up in a cozy blanket while the rain pours down outside. They’re just cozy and comforting to me. While this one isn’t a classic or anything, I found it enjoyable and I liked the characters. Tyler does a thing sometimes–especially in her later books, I think–where she just sort of skims over the top of the characters, so rather than really get to know them, you only get an impression of them and what they’re like. In some of her books, I’ve found this to result in feeling like the book doesn’t have much substance and is kind of pointless. In French Braid, though, there was enough characterization that this worked. There were a couple chapters in particular that I liked–especially the one where Grandma Garrett takes her granddaughter on the train to New York City.
Anne Tyler’s books aren’t for everyone, and I don’t think French Braid would be the one to convince a non-fan to give her another try. But I found it a very pleasant way to spend a couple afternoons, and an improvement over her last couple books that I’ve read.