The story of 3 generations of the Kelleher family and the drama that unfolds at the family beach house in Maine one summer. There is Alice, the matriarch, who is still suffering over the death of her husband 10 years earlier and for which she blames her daughter, and the tragic death of her sister at the Coconut Grove when she was young for which she blames herself. Then there is Kathleen, Alice's oldest daughter, the one Alice blames for her husbands death. Kathleen is a recovering alcoholic who lives with her boyfriend on a worm farm in California. She always swore she would never return to that beach in Maine, but circumstances beyond her control make her go back on the proclamation much to her dismay. Finally there is Maggie, Kathleen's daughter, who's in her 30's, just broke up with her loser boyfriend, and found out she is pregnant with his child. On the sidelines is Ann Marie, wife to Kathleen's brother, who just won a dollhouse competition (she's in her 50's) and thinks it is her sole purpose to care for Alice, much to Alice's chagrin. These women converge at the house in Maine one summer to confront their demons, come to terms with each of their deep secrets, and try not to kill each other.
I had a really hard time giving this book a rating. I wasn't rushing home to read it, but once I picked up reading it I didn't want to put it down. Every character in this entire book is self absorbed and insufferable. Alice is a tyrant, and knowing the truth of what happened that night at the Grove didn't make me change my opinion of her. It was sad and tragic, but her actions through the whole book could not make me pity her. Kathleen, who is 59, needs to grow up and get over herself, however out of all of them she is the one I liked the most and that isn't saying much. Ann Marie is just incredibly bizarre and reminded me of a Stepford wife with a savior complex. Then there is Maggie. I think she may have been the absolute worst character in my opinion. The things she did to spy on her boyfriend, the whining, her complete dependence on a guy who doesn't care for her and is obviously an asshole and the way she pines away for him made me sick.
However, there were parts that had me cracking up out loud. If you have read it or plan to read it, remember the Canadians. Just thinking about that part makes me smirk even now that I've finished it. The story of Alice's sisters death was one of the most tragic things I've read and made me pity her, until the next time she opened her mouth that is. No one really ends up with any redeeming qualities. I wish Alive would have told her family the story if her sisters death; I think that would have made for good reading. I'm really on the fence with this one and the more I think about the less I'm decided.
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