Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Year We Left Home: Book Review

The Year We Left Home
By Jean Thompson

This is the story of the Erikson family in Iowa, in 1973. The story spans 30 years from the time they are coming of age into adulthood, to their middle age years.

The story is about each individual family member, Anita, Blake, Torrie, Ryan and their cousin Chip, and of course their parents.  Each of them, leave home, in different situations. The affect it has on them for them when they reach their 50's.

The confrontations, the battles, the tragedies, and the ties that bind them as individuals and as a family.What happens to this family, and turns the family to extended family, as Great Grandmother, Grandmother, Great Grandfather, Grandfather, Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Sister, Brother, Cousin, Nephew, Neice, etc.

There are three children, Blake, Torrie, Anita, and Ryan, and their cousin, Chip.  At the opening scene, Anita is getting married. She pictures a perfect marriage and family. A house, with a white picket fence, with of course a dog and 2.2 children. Just like everyone else did, in the 70's. But, unfortunately, life does not go as planned.  Her husband becomes a alcholic.

Ryan, has to find himself and his dream. He ends up working in computers. Somewhat of a loner. He marries, and has kids. Later in their marriage, they end up divorced, and he feels the kids don't care about him.

Torrie, the youngest daughter, is in a car accident. Torrie, is left handicapped with physical disabilities.  Torrie feels her mother, smothering her and does allow her to be as independent. Torrie escapes by finding her creativity, in photography. Her mother allows her independence and leaves home.

Blake, has not much to talk about. He is just there in the background. He has a happy life. At the end of the story we learn his son, wants to join the military.

Their cousin, Chip is a drifter. He doesn't seem to ever get it together. The Vietnam War, has forever changed him.

My thoughts, I enjoyed reading this novel. I connected from the start. The Year We Left Home, is not for everyone. There is historical background, and politics that appear in the story.   It is slow moving, but it was fluid, and came together. There was not any part of the novel that was disjointed.

I may have connected to the story, because I am middle aged. I don't think a younger person would have enjoyed, or related to the Erikson's as much. That is just my personal opinion. 

I loved the ending of the story, and the character development. The author, did a good job writing this novel. I have never read any of her books before. I hope to read her other one's in the future.
The only critque, I have is why Blake is not developed more in the story? For what reason, she did not give Blake more story line, and why Chip is in the story? I am not sure if Chip made the story more interesting or not, or was the author trying to put another spin to the story.

The borrowed this book from the library.

1 comment:

Irene said...

Sounds good. Thanks for the review.

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