I had read wonderful reviews about the audiobook version of this novel by Ann Patchett. It is narrated by Tom Hanks and I must concur he does a wonderful job on the narration. I really enjoyed the story and the development of the relationship between Maeve and Danny as well as their parents. It is amazing to see the differences in relationships that develop between parents and children of the opposite genders. Their experiences with their father are very different due to the differences in how they interacted with him while growing up.
The age difference between Maeve and Danny also created a bit of 2 different families situation. Maeve has many more memories of their mother from her childhood while Danny effectively grew up with minimal memories of her and thus was more attached to Maeve as a maternal figure than his own mother. The 2 also had very different relationships with Andrea, their stepmother due to their ages when she married their father.
The novel highlights how different people will react to the same trauma in different ways. It also highlights how every story has 2 sides and maybe we shouldn't be so quick to condemn others and more willing to forgive or at least forge a new type of relationship. The book showcases many grudges that are often just a transference of frustrations and hurt that could have been avoided had any real conversations taken place. There were many years lost due to a bitterness that is just a said statement but is truly a common occurrence in many families. It is often easier to hold a grudge than look at our own role in a situation and admit we all play a part in a conflict or disagreement. It is rarely all someone else's fault when it comes to family matters.
This book has an amazing story of Maeve being so spiteful that she creates a path for Danny that isn't at all what he desires. But, his need to make his sister happy and to maintain their strong relationship prevents him from speaking up for himself. Ultimately he is just pushed along by his sister and his future wife, Celeste and never really carves his own path until very late. Everyone's desire to have Danny be a doctor for their selfish reasons ultimately backfires and leads to many disappointments and unsettled emotions.
I enjoyed this book and really loved listening to Tom Hanks narrate it. Unfortunately I feel a bit of the book's timeline jumping was confused by listening to an audiobook since much of the book was a reflection on Danny's life. It wasn't always clear where in time the stories he was relaying occurred and that took away a bit from the flow of the story.
Readers who like reading stories about families and the dramas and conflicts through the generations will enjoy this book.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this book as an audiobook and while I loved Tom Hanks as the narrator I think the audiobook may have made it more confusing for me at times. The timeline of the book narration jumps all around and at times it is difficult to determine where in Danny and Maeve’s life story the anecdotes occur. I think reading it might have been easier to follow that aspect.
The book characters are certainly well developed and it is amazing how even characters that are portrayed negatively can have somewhat of a perspective awakening occur. Ever story has two sides and then there’s the truth rings very true in this story.
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The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
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