I knew just from reading the synopsis that I would love this book but I had no idea that it would gain a coveted spot as one of the best books I’ve ever read (quite possibly THE best book I’ve ever read).
If you haven’t yet read this book, you MUST. Today. It’s such a beautiful book in every way and I absolutely loved reading it.
I laughed, I sobbed, and I felt everything in between while reading this beautiful story. This book took me on such an emotional roller coaster…I absolutely loved it.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A dazzling, multigenerational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple–still madly in love after forty years–recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they’ve built.
When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that’s to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents’.
As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt–given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before–we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons’ past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.
Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo’s debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family’s becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.
(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I spent all summer not so patiently waiting for my turn to read this book. It had been on my radar since last spring and I couldn’t wait for it to be released! However, I ultimately made the classic booknerd mistake and the release date (6.25.19) somehow slipped right through my fingers! Ugh! I was innocently shopping at Costco when I made the unfortunate discovery that this had been released. I took out my phone on the spot and immediately went straight to my library’s website to gain my place on the waitlist. #43. Awful. As you know, I’m a proud minimalist and reaaaaally didn’t want to buy a copy…so #43 on the list for me it was.
I checked that website allllllll summer for updates and slowly, slowly, slowly my name moved up on the list.
**If I would have known how much I was going to love it, I would have just bought the book :)**
It was a happy day indeed when the library called to tell me that my copy was waiting! I wasted no time and started reading that very night.
This review is tough for me to write. How can I put into words how much I absolutely LOVED this book? Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. In my entire life. And I’ve read A LOT of books 😉
Warning: This book is LONG. Almost 540 pages. Don’t let that intimidate you! I would have happily read 600 more pages once I finished. How can some 200 page books draaaaag on and yet this 540 page book was completely effortless to read?
The writing in this book was simply beautiful. She was able to tell stories from so many different points of view throughout so many timeframes and continuously connected all of the stories, characters, and timelines together. That takes some major literary talent. Everything about this book absolutely blew me away.
Fans of the television shows “This is Us” and “Parenthood” will LOVE this book. I often think that certain books would make excellent movies but this one would be an AMAZING television series! Or…a book series. There are so many rich storylines and so many colorful characters. I firmly feel as though I’m not ready to say good-bye to the Sorenson Family quite yet.
There were numerous nights when I stayed up way too late reading this book and numerous mornings when I woke up early just to read. I finished reading last night and have not stopped thinking about these characters (the sign of an amazing book).
Side note: I absolutely loved all of the Chicago references! Street names, places, etc. All of them just added to the wonderful experience of reading this beautiful story. I currently live in a suburb of Chicago but did live in the city for 8 years. Best city in the world.
This was Claire Lombardo’s debut book…I can’t WAIT to see what she will write in the future. What she was able to accomplish in 1 book is something many authors never achieve in their entire careers.
Truly one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Did you read this book? What did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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