Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Don't say no, it's the end of the world." Old song lyrics

This family saga is both entertaining and informative.

In part, it tells the story of Megan Cartwright who is 21 at the start of the story. She's the eldest of nine children and has had to run the household for years. Finally, she decides to have a life of her own. Her father is pleased with her desire to move to England. He's wanted to travel for years but never got the chance.

Megan's brother Tom is a college student at the beginning of the novel. He's witnessed something and he feels the need for isolation. He keeps to himself and looks for a job where he won't have to communicate with anyone.

Edward is the father. His parents ran a farm and figured that their children would follow in their footsteps.  Although his brothers became farmers, Ed showed more promise. He continued in school and became a banker.

The story takes place in the lives of these three characters from 1966 to 1969. The questions that arise are: will Megan find happiness and use her talents in England? Will Tom put his education to work and begin earning a decent income? Will Edward ever get to Rome? There is also a question of someone stepping up to manage the family of seven surviving boys.

Mary Lawson is a good writer and makes the reader think for themselves about what might happen in certain situations. The family is dysfunctional and something needs to be done but what is it? She describes life as it really is, with tenderness and hope for the various characters.

I was disappointed that no one else tried to help with the family. I kept asking the book to say something to Edward's married sister in Toronto. I'm sure she would have helped.  I also think that in real life, Edward would try to find some help for his wife and children.

I don't want to disclose plot but just say that the book was enjoyable but sad.

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