I don't usually like Joyce Carol Oates, but I LOVE this book. Have read it twice. Highly recommended.
Sad story of a young girl growing up in an ideal family. Her uncle is a world famous boxer, and as she gets older, she seeks his attention, and an affair ensues for much of her teenage years. The uncle is possessive, she tries to kill herself for the attention. The ending is somewhat dramatic, though you may have seen it coming.
I was completely blown away by this book. I have always appreciated Oates' short stories but until this book her only novel I had read was We Were the Mulvaneys and frankly, though I liked it, I was not blown away by it.
You Must Remember This has so many back burner stories and characterizations along with the main storyline & the main characters that at the beginning of the book I anticipated a lot of confusion. But Oates writes with such brilliance that there is never a problem of that. I found her writing to be absolutely masterful.
She takes something which most authors would present as a dirty little secret and makes it something very believable and at times even beautiful.
It is the 1950s and the Stevick family, Hannah and Lyle, have a son (Warren) going to fight in Korea, 3 daughters; Geraldine, who will soon be marry and begin a family, Lizzie, who will become the family rebel, finish school and move out...and go to live in a flat with two of her girlfriends, and the youngest, Enid, has a fascination with death & soon with her Uncle Felix.
The book is about all of these people and the people in their lives. Mr. Stevick is a businessman with a store of used and unpainted furnishings. Mrs. Stevick is a homemaker who becomes a dressmaker as her children leave the home. Mr. Stevick's brother, the children's Uncle Felix, is a boxer. There is a story within the novel about pugilism which I found quite interesting. The youngest daughter's obsession with death and dying runs through the entire book and is written in quite a different manner than I have ever read before though I have read a lot of books on suicide.
I found the entire novel to be fascinating. I don't know that all would warm to it. But for those who enjoy a quirky, twisty, turny story about a family I think this one will fit the bill. And it is to those I very highly recommend this book by Oates.