I waited and waited to get this book, almost went ahead and bought it a couple of times. I really really really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, I couldn't even force myself to be interested in the characters or care what was going to happen to them or why. I'm not sure if it was the state of mind I was in when I started reading, or what, but it just didn't do anything for me. I didn't care about the characters and therefore found it hard to keep their intertwining story lines straight. I didn't even finish the book. Sorry-I was truly excited to get it and really wanted to love it.
The Kelleher family is a close Irish Catholic family. Every summer they reunite at the family cottage off the coast of Maine. One particular summer four of the Kelleher women are privately battling issues. Some of these issues are between the adult Kelleher children, but some are within the Kelleher matriarch herself. Of course, there are many issues within the Kelleher family, as with all families.
Family dysfunction is an old issue, a common issue in itself. In Maine, J. Courtney Sullivan writes of this in a straightforward way, taking the Kelleher family and all of their problems head-on. Tradition and denial dont mix, or make for happiness on any level.
There is sibling rivalry, unplanned pregnancy, religion, and alcoholism, among other personal and family dilemmas.
Maine is a good depiction of a typical dysfunctional family who gets by year after year, by maintaining what they know of each other and themselves, holding on to the past and history because it works. The sorrow and pain in these characters is palpable. They are their own worst enemies, just as in real-life.
J. Courtney Sullivan gets it right when it comes to family dysfunction and the family dynamics of it, like it or not.
Did not like this book. Did not like the characters. Agonizingly told, had to make myself finish, because I always finish a book.
I just could not get into the book. I did not find the characters likable or even generating empathy. I kept waiting for the book to come together, but it just spent so long building the back stories of the individual women. The chapters moved back and forth between the stories of the individual women. They also moved across time and place telling each character's version of family history. It just did not keep me interested unfortunately. I wish the book had started with them in Maine and then perhaps woven in the back story. It took too long to get there, and by that point, I did not really care.
After reading some of the other reviews of this book, I was a little reluctant to read it and it languished in my TBR pile for a few months. So glad that I picked it up. I do agree that there is not a lot of action in the book but it is a very character driven story. Although I did not like all of the characters, I found them fascinating. I felt that the author fleshed out each of the main characters completely and it made for a very enjoyable and interesting read.