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“How can a quiet and ordinary story be told about extreme circumstances that turn several lives off kilter? Somehow Endicott does that here- peacefully laying out a narrative arc that has more than a few ups and downs, wracked with the fear of potential loss and the bewilderment of suddenly...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“struggled to finish this one”see full review » see other reviews »
“struggled to finish this one”Eileen N wrote this review Monday, July 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is an enjoyable and thought provoking read. The characters are well drawn and the pacing is just right. My only complaint would be about the last twenty-five or so pages being unnecessarily long. This last scene could have been wrapped up in about five pages. All told, though, it's a very good book.”Trish wrote this review Monday, June 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Clara Purdy has a solid life--no longer married, no children, steady job. She lives in the same house she grew up in and now that both her parents have passed, it belongs to her. Then one day on her lunch hour, the normal act of making a left turn, changes her life instantly. The accident is her fault--she works for an insurance company and she knows that the person crossing traffic is at fault. From the other car, an entire family emerges--mother, father, 3 children and a grandmother. Although no one is hurt badly, the mother, Lorraine needs to go to the hospital and they discover that she is suffering from non hodgkins lymphoma. The Gage family had been living in their car and were on their way to another city looking for work and so have no where to go. So Clara decides that she has enough room in her home to accommodate everyone while Lorraine receives treatment at the hospital. Suddenly she is changing diapers, picking up toys and putting up with a grouchy old grandma. Various friends and relatives begin pitching in to help out and Clara is the center of it all. Although I thought the book was longer than it needed to be because of some dead end plot additions, overall this was a great book. I don't know that I know anyone who would have done what Clara did, especially in this day and age where we are all pretty suspicious of strangers but once I got past that notion, this became an extraordinary story about trying to do the right thing and how it can profoundly affect the tone of your life.”Beverly R. wrote this review Wednesday, April 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Acclaimed author Marina Endicott gives us one of the most satisfying, most profound, and most memorable reads of the year. Absorbed in her own failings, Clara Purdy crashes her life into a sharp left turn, hitting a car with homeless husband, wife Grandma, and three children. In the Hospital the wife is doscovered to have cancer. The husband disappears and the single 40 year old takes the cjildren and grandma into her home.”Laurel B Deloria wrote this review Saturday, February 23, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I think the stories of personal relationships and the unexpected circumstances where people find community are my favorite themes. Especially when it happens the old-fashioned way...face to face and messy. Endicott does a fine job telling this story of Clara and her decision to reach out.”Miss Chalupa wrote this review Monday, January 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Great tender story. Love the writing about the children and baby.”Sophie B. Watson wrote this review Monday, June 18, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Excellent read. A woman becomes entangled with a family out of guilt and loneliness following a car accident involving herself and the family.”Susieham wrote this review Monday, March 5, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A car accident that isn’t her fault changes Clara’s life in an unexpected way. When the family in the other car taken to hospital for minor injuries, it is discovered that the mother, Lorraine, has a serious illness and needs to stay for a while.
Clara discovers that the family is homeless and were on their way to a town far away because of the promise of a job for Clayton, the father. They have three children with them, a girl of ten, Dolly, a boy, Trevor, who is five or so, and a baby of 10 months, Pearce. Then there’s Mrs Pell, he quiet grandmother who does not tire herself with the goings on of the family.
Clara offers to take the family (minus the hospital-bound Lorraine) in but it’s clear she doesn’t really know what she let herself in for. With a young baby and two bigger children, a criminal father and a grandma who refuses to help out, she is in for a busy time.
Luckily, family and friends offer to help and it’s heart-warming how everyone takes a share of the burden. Still, the hardest work, of looking for the children, is for Clare. Everyone knows this is only temporary, and what will happen if Lorraine doesn’t survive, or if she is dismissed from hospital declared healthy?
I enjoyed this book a lot. It is a story about being useful to others and about belonging. I never understood Clara but I did care about her. How can anyone decide to take a whole family in? A family that you don’t know anything about. Very unlikely but in Clara’s case it did feel like something she would do.
Poor Clara had spend years looking after her ailing mother and getting this family move in with her served two purposes: she had someone (several people) to care for, filling a gap that her mother had left, and this was also a great opportunity to defy her dead mother’s wishes. Her mother had a strong mind, with many things being improper or not-done and I think Clara was ready to find herself by doing things differently from her mother.
I liked the book because it very well describes the struggle of keeping a family going. This was all the more obvious because Clara had to do all the work herself and it was all new to her. Mothers who get one child at a time will learn, almost automatically, what to do in certain circumstances, and to anticipate things. And an experienced mother with three children in her care would not have accepted Mrs Pell as an extra person to care for. She would have pulled her out of her comfy chair and given her some tasks. Well, I would! I think.
The book also is good at describing how a serious illness affects the whole family, not just the person who is ill. I liked it how the families, Lorraine’s family and Clara’s family both helped out and became one family for the time being. The church ladies could be seen as another family, but they were quite unhelpful. I think they symbolised Clara’s mother and her views.”
“Interesting tale about a spinster who causes an accident with a family living in their car and how she gets involved in their lives in the aftermath.”Barb S wrote this review Saturday, October 22, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Clara Purdy is divorced, living alone in her late parents' home and nearing twenty years as a claims adjuster at an insurance firm. When she crashes into the Gage family's car one day, her life changes irrevocably.
Wonderful book with excellent, well-realized characters, this is a deep read.”