Prior to "The Mulvaney's" I had not been able to become an avid reader of Joyce Carol Oates. I often had difficulty with the subject matter and frequently found myself responding in a negative , unrewarding way and that is not why I read novels. Ms. Oates is a consummate artist, a writer of very great skill, and a wonderful story-teller. "The Mulvaneys" is moving, warm, real, troubling and a pleasure to read. You can not read this book or any of her work if all you want to know is "what happens next". Her prose is flawless and chock full of those things which make great prose. It is not realistic to expect every reader to like her work, she IS a challenge, but well worth the effort(if that's what it takes.) This would be a great first Oates to read, if you need an introduction. I am baffled, though, that Oprah took so many years to find this book. It was published 5 years ago. That is when I read it, and have been reading others by Ms Oates since. I do not like everything she writes, but you very well might. A whole lot of people do!
The writing was too embellished for me and hard to follow at times. Good story, but I felt like I had to plow through to finish.
"We were the Mulvaneys" was a decent book about a prominent family with everything in the world to look forward to and how they fell from grace. It was well written but a bit too drawn out at times. Definitely a very sad story from beginning to end.
I love Joyce Carol Oates and this book is a great example of her work. I read it prior to it making it onto Oprah's Book Club list, but recently read it again after receiving another copy. It isn't necessarily for someone who doesn't like long, descriptive narratives of books, but I enjoy her writing style. We Were The Mulvaneys is an example of how everyone should be careful not to envy others for appearing to have perfect lives, because chances are high that they don't.
The main storyline is based around the fall from grace of a prominent family. While there are plenty of problems in the family that come to light, the driving force is the reaction of the family to the rape of the cheerleader daughter. I found myself annoyed that the family seemed to react to her tragedy in a way that seemed to center around themselves. How it made them feel or how it upset them, at times to the detriment of the true victim herself. It seemed like a lot of whining from well to dos and I found myself rather annoyed through most of the book, but forcing myself to finish it in hopes that it might improve.