The Burgess Boys

The Burgess BoysThe Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Published by Random House on March 26th 2013
Pages: 320
ISBN: 1400067685
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Received from Goodreads first reads giveaway

I had high hopes for this Novel. I loved Olive Kitteridge. For me this novel was not as good. To be fair, I would give this book 3 1/2 stars if I could. I didn’t really care about the characters. I cared the most for Bob and Zach. I do like books where the characters are flawed and not very likeable but in those books, I was still invested in what happened to them. In this book, I did not care for the characters or for what happened to them especially – Jim Burgess. Susan and Jim are just plain mean to their Brother Bob and for me it was a turn off. Usually I read books very fast- this one took me some time.

The Burgess Boys is about a dysfunctional family and how one truamatic event in the Burgess’ childhood shaped their adult lives. Secrets, lies, quilt, and deceipt are some themes of the book. We see how the tragic death of the siblings father has shaped the lives of Bob, his twin sister Susan, their older brother (Jim) and their spouses and children. The family (Jim, Bob, and Susan) must come together after Zach (Susan’s son) throws a head of a pig into a mosque at worship time and the resulting legal issues that follow. Through the course of the storyline we learn family secrets, see self destruction, and to a small degree redemption.

I did like the end a little better than the middle. I liked how “truth” or “family secrets” came out. This was a good book – not great. For me there was something lacking in the story – I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s a good book but not one that moved me.


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