By Ann Patchett
A Book Review by Ginger Dawn Harman
While I was dusting off my bookcase, I saw this book that I purchased a while back. I flipped open the cover and began reading. Needless to say, the dusting was not finished but I did finished Commonwealth by Ann Patchett in just two days! Ann Patchett has an amazing talent for weaving emotional tales. Moreover, her characters are so plausible that many will be able to relate.
This book touches on the lives of several family members that are brought together during an affair between Bert Cousins and Beverly Keaton. With six children now with torn apart families they are the true victims of the selfish act. The children are left often to take care of themselves and over the span of fifty years, the reader will follow their lives. Eventually, Franny Keaton has an affair of her own with an author who writes her family history turning it into a national bestseller. Several sections of the novel deal with how family members react to their lives being re-told and re-shaped for mass consumption. Later even becoming a movie. As an avid reader, I find that many authors like to slip their own secrets being of family or personal into their books. Yet, what many find as fiction creates family tension and resolve. Commonwealth is heartbreaking in many ways but a lesson of resilience, loyalty, and healing tie the plot together with a memorable read.
Below is my Penpal Mamey's review of Commonwealth! Now we did not plan on reading Commonwealth together but this is the second book this year that we have both read! We are such a reading match for sure!
My favorite quote was, “Her mother was lost in a sea of irregular verbs.”
It was one of those moments when you are reading and the story, the character, and the life of the book completely breaks open! I also liked,
“Lelia gave a dharma talk about letting go of self-definition: I can't do this because of what happened to me in my childhood; I can't do that because I am very shy; I could never go there because I'm afraid of clowns or mushrooms or polar bears. The group gave a gentle, collective laugh of self-recognition. Teresa found the talk helpful, as she had been having an extended interior dialogue during meditation about how septuagenarians from Torrance were fundamentally unsuited for Buddhism.”
My favorite character by far was Albie! This character makes such a dramatic change in the book that you smile looking back on this scene,
“The entire time Albie followed Beverly around the house doing what the children referred to as “the stripper soundtrack”: Boom chicka-boom, boom-boom chicka-boom.
When their mother stopped walking the soundtrack stopped. If she took a single step it was accompanied by Albie saying only “boom” in a voice that was weirdly sexual for a six-year-old.”
Oh Albie! I seriously thought "Oh Boy" when I read about all the things that happen to Albie!
Commonwealth will have you hooked from the first to last page. Moreover, I want to read more. What will happen next for the family.. I rather hope a sequel will happen! I give my highest recommendation to Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.