Friday, May 20, 2011

The Year We Let Home by Jean Thompson

'In The Year We Left Home, Thompson brings together all of her talents to deliver the career-defining novel her admirers have been waiting for: a sweeping and emotionally powerful story of a single American family during the tumultuous final decades of the twentieth century. It begins in 1973 when the Erickson family of Grenada, Iowa, gathers for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Anita. Even as they celebrate, the fault lines in the family emerge. The bride wants nothing more than to raise a family in her hometown, while her brother Ryan watches restlessly from the sidelines, planning his escape. He is joined by their cousin Chip, an unpredictable, war-damaged loner who will show Ryan both the appeal and the perils of freedom. Torrie, the Ericksons’ youngest daughter, is another rebel intent on escape, but the choices she makes will bring about a tragedy that leaves the entire family changed forever.

Stretching from the early 1970s in the Iowa farmlands to suburban Chicago to the coast of contemporary Italy—and moving through the Vietnam War’s aftermath, the farm crisis, the numerous economic boomsand busts—The Year We Left Home follows the Erickson siblings as they confront prosperity and heartbreak, setbacks and triumphs, and seek their place in a country whose only constant seems to be breathtaking change. Ambitious, richly told, and fiercely American, this is a vivid and moving meditation on our continual pursuit of happiness and an incisive exploration of the national character. ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book. The book starts in the year 1973 and ends in 2003. I liked the author's style of having the chapters jump every 2-4 years and join the character's lives at that point. I could relate to the time frame of the book, since I also lived it and it was interesting how the author incorporated current events of the time into her character's stories. I was sad to see the book end because I became involved in their lives and now that is over. 

The Year We Left Home is a part of life that we all go through but then it all comes around again when we realize what is important to us and we return home. This book is a story about that journey. 


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