Ann Patchett - Commonwealth

Ugh. This book was fine. But I’m sort of sick of/ over the avalanche of popular books from 2015-2016 in which (a) authors can’t start at the beginning and end at the end because they have a sneaking suspicion that the story and/or characters just aren’t actually interesting enough to pay attention to and (b) the stories are bleak for bleak sake.

My 16-year-old-self would be appalled that it’s come to this, but it seems that it has. Let’s be real. This is a book about  a blended family in which basically everyone dies. Why does everyone die? Because it takes place over something like 50 years. Sometimes kids die. Sometimes adults die. But the author doesn’t seem to care much about what happens during those 5 decades when people aren’t dying, so it all just gets stale. 

Why would you spend so much of your time, if you get to be a writer, writing about that part of these people’s lives? You get to be a writer! You get to imagine lives and make them up! And that’s the best you can come up with?!

The most interesting part of the whole book was the summer that one of the characters spends on the east coast with an older writer and his obnoxious New York friends. That was also the only part of the book in which someone wasn’t dying, just died, or reminiscing about the time that someone died. Oh, that and the baby shower in the first chapter and the birthday party near the end.

I blame everyone who read this book on the subway so openly and flagrantly for endorsing it and making me think I was missing out on something great (and its bright orange cover).