Review: Maine

Why I picked it: I had to read what all the fuss was about. 

Synopsis:  For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials “A.H.” At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface.

As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago.

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: While reading this book I kept thinking about a Haigh novel that felt similar.  Lot's of emotion yet moving slowly from start to finish.  I know someone who was so excited to read this book, solely because the title.  Maine is a secondary character at best. I wonder if she has read it...

I'm sorry to say I was left unsatisfied when I finished this one.  I anticipated the ending after the big secret is revealed early in the novel, in my opinion the secret needed to slip out at the dinner table.  That would have made for an interesting situation.

This is a story filled with family drama, alcoholism, and several other themes.  I enjoyed the family relationships most so to explore this a bit more I thought I would answer a few of the questions listed in the discussion section:

If you had to choose one word to describe the overriding theme of Maine, what would it be? Family Loyalty.  There's a lot going on in this novel, people running away from family, entitlement, a potential affair, secrets (many of them)....

What was Alice’s motivation for changing her will? Why did she wait so long to tell her family?  Alice didn't understand, or didn't want to understand that her son set up the Maine calendar (staggering visits) so that she wouldn't be alone.  She thought her children didn't like each other, and while it wasn't a close family, I did feel they had a connection to the Maine house and family.

Not telling her family about her plans was terrible and the easy way out.  I kept waiting for this news to be shared.  Keeping this a secret let her feel control and she made reference to the shock they would experience so she knew what she was doing.  Alice wasn't  a warm and fuzzy person.

Which of these women would you like to spend more time with? Are there any you’d never want to see again? I didn't care for Ann Marie but her story is the one that kept me reading. She felt entitled, and was a bit of a 'Debbie Downer'.  She didn't like her husband much, craved order and seemed unhappy.  Her doll house obsession seemed to replace life, she could control of every aspect of the doll house. She did keep the book entertaining though...

I gave my audio copy to my neighbor a few weeks ago, I can't wait to discuss this book with her.  Have you read it?

Rating: 3/5 stars
Source: Library (audio)

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