Book of the Month: We are the Brennans by Tracey Lange

I bet you thought we were going to end March without a book of the month, huh? Think again! Haha.

When I got midway through the book of this month, I remember thinking finally! I deserve to read such a great book. True story. I haven't had that wow factor with most of the books I've been reading this year, and when I say this book made up for all that, I am not kidding. Let's get into it. 

The book of this month is We are the Brennans by Tracey Lange. It is the story of an Irish-Catholic family steeped in shame and secrets that threaten to break the deep bond they have always shared. The book starts with the only daughter, Sunday Brennan, wrecking her car in a DUI accident all the way in California. In the aftermath of this accident, her brother comes to get her, and she must set aside her shame and pride and return home with him to the family in their New York home. There, she must confront all she left behind—her family and high school sweetheart—when she ran away with no explanation. With a plan to deal with it head on, she forges ahead with picking up the pieces of her life, but even that seems impossible with her brothers and ex-fiance stewing in resentment. All of that is torpedoed when a dangerous man from her past plots to bring her family into financial ruin and destroy them. So they are forced to confront their secrets and fight together. 

I LOVED this book. The storytelling, the depth of the characters, the themes the author explores...This is a family drama that draws you in and despite how flawed they all are (except Shane!), there is a redemptive power of love that is so richly depicted by Lange that keeps you completely engrossed and makes you continue to flip the pages. Every family has their story, and even the tight-knit ones are not perfect, and that's a recurring theme across this book. The chapters also fluctuate from character to character so that we get their point of view, which I loved.  And every single character (even the Mom who we didn't get to hear from) had such nuance and depth to them that it was worth investing in them. 

There was something extremely creative the author did: she started every chapter with the last line of dialogue from the end of the last chapter. It was such a unique feature and seamless enough that you almost miss it. The writing, I think, is what tips this book to excellent status. Because indeed, much of the story is ordinary in the sense of how quotidian it is. Perhaps it's my love for making the mundane griping, but the dynamics Lange created felt so natural AND complex that the result was brilliant. I enjoyed getting to know the characters.

In sum, I could not put this book down and I think you'll love it too. Don't forget to please stop by and let me know if you read and/or enjoy the book. I love hearing about it.

See you [for book of the month] next month!



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