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Spanning forty years, Family Pictures follows the conflict between husband and wife, over a beautiful autistic child. Randall is both angel and demon. His father, David, a coolly rational psychiatrist, wants him placed in an institution; his mother, Lainey, insists on keeping him at home. Yet it is not just David and Lainey who are struggling to come to terms with a diffic Spanning forty years, Family Pictures follows the conflict between husband and wife, over a beautiful autistic child. Randall is both angel and demon. His father, David, a coolly rational psychiatrist, wants him placed in an institution; his mother, Lainey, insists on keeping him at home. Yet it is not just David and Lainey who are struggling to come to terms with a difficult and unpredictable child; there are five other children in the family, each of them coping with the dramas and rifts surrounding them, each of them affected by Randall.


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Spanning forty years, Family Pictures follows the conflict between husband and wife, over a beautiful autistic child. Randall is both angel and demon. His father, David, a coolly rational psychiatrist, wants him placed in an institution; his mother, Lainey, insists on keeping him at home. Yet it is not just David and Lainey who are struggling to come to terms with a diffic Spanning forty years, Family Pictures follows the conflict between husband and wife, over a beautiful autistic child. Randall is both angel and demon. His father, David, a coolly rational psychiatrist, wants him placed in an institution; his mother, Lainey, insists on keeping him at home. Yet it is not just David and Lainey who are struggling to come to terms with a difficult and unpredictable child; there are five other children in the family, each of them coping with the dramas and rifts surrounding them, each of them affected by Randall.

30 review for Family Pictures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    This should have been a better book than it was. The story is centered on a family with an autistic son, and how the presence of this son shapes the family and each of its members. Unfortunately, all the family members are pretty unlikable and it is very hard to care about what happens to them. The mother and father are particularly unpleasant - very self-absorbed while believing they are selflessly dedicated to their kids. All of the characters seem to float in their own little bubbles of self- This should have been a better book than it was. The story is centered on a family with an autistic son, and how the presence of this son shapes the family and each of its members. Unfortunately, all the family members are pretty unlikable and it is very hard to care about what happens to them. The mother and father are particularly unpleasant - very self-absorbed while believing they are selflessly dedicated to their kids. All of the characters seem to float in their own little bubbles of self-absorption and never really come across as a family. Overall, a disagreeable read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    I like Sue Miller, but this is not her best work. She is a fabulous writer, and that really shines through in some sections of the book. The shifting narration does not always work (though when it does, it's quite good). I was left feeling that the character motivations were missing here - so I never knew why anyone did the things they did, and therefore never really connected with them in any meaningful way. (Although, the last chapter goes a teeny way toward ameliorating this - but it's too li I like Sue Miller, but this is not her best work. She is a fabulous writer, and that really shines through in some sections of the book. The shifting narration does not always work (though when it does, it's quite good). I was left feeling that the character motivations were missing here - so I never knew why anyone did the things they did, and therefore never really connected with them in any meaningful way. (Although, the last chapter goes a teeny way toward ameliorating this - but it's too little, too late.) Just okay, not great.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Grant

    Perhaps my favourite book ever

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maggi

    Absorbing story of a semi-dysfunctional but loving family set in the 60's- and 70's. Several points of view bring different facets of this story to light. Sue Miller's style is a bit more flowery and metaphor-filled than I prefer, but her gift of narrative shines. Absorbing story of a semi-dysfunctional but loving family set in the 60's- and 70's. Several points of view bring different facets of this story to light. Sue Miller's style is a bit more flowery and metaphor-filled than I prefer, but her gift of narrative shines.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katie Kenig

    But that's the way it is in a family, isn't it? The stories get passed around, polished, embellished. Liddie's version or Mack's version changes as it becomes my version. And when I tell them, it's not just that the events are different but that they all mean something different too. Something I want them to mean. Or need them to. And of course, there's also the factor of time. Of how your perspective, your way of telling the story - of seeing it - changes as time passes. As you change. In the id But that's the way it is in a family, isn't it? The stories get passed around, polished, embellished. Liddie's version or Mack's version changes as it becomes my version. And when I tell them, it's not just that the events are different but that they all mean something different too. Something I want them to mean. Or need them to. And of course, there's also the factor of time. Of how your perspective, your way of telling the story - of seeing it - changes as time passes. As you change. In the idyllic 1950's, the Eberhardt family seems to have it all. They bought the big house overlooking the park in Chicago, where the dad is a psychologist and the mom stays home with her three beautiful children. Until they discover that something is wrong with their youngest, most beautiful child. He is autistic, and it sends the family into a tailspin. Dad is angry and retreats into his work. Mom is destroyed since the diagnostics of the day place the blame of autism squarely on Mom's shoulders. As a result, she conspires to bring three more children into the family, trying to make up for the problems of their son. Certainly even then we thought of the family as neatly divided down the middle. The first three, Macklin, Lydia and Randall, were the special ones. Even those names, we thought, showed greater imagineation, greater involvement on our parents' part, than ours did: Nina, Mary, Sarah. Clearly by that time they had run out of gas. But we didn't necessarily connect any of this with our father's nicknames for us. These were embarrassing not because of what they meant - which none of us stopped to consider then anyway - but because they existed at all. Not because they pointed to some quality we shared, but because they pointed to us. He called us "the unexpected guests." or "the surprise party." He would lower his book and watch us as we passed his study door, the three of us always together. Under his high, narrow forehead, his blue eyes had the trick that eyes in certain portraits or photographs do, of seeming to follow you while actually remaining steady, unmoving. "There they go, the extras," he'd say. Or, "Ah, the fleet's in. The Nina, the Pint-sized, that Santa Maria." We were "the little pitchers of health," "the coup de grace," "the last straws." We complained and laughed and whined about it, we told our mother, but it only made him worse. Needless to say, it didn't quite work. It does, on the other hand, make for a fascinating family dynamic. This book follows the family through the 60's and 70's, even through to adulthood in the 80's. You have a chance to see through the eyes of each of the family members, except for the autistic son, who is in very many ways the center that holds the rest of the family together as well as being the catalyst for change and destruction in their lives. I really, really enjoyed this book. I loved that it was set in my home town of Chicago, and found myself daydreaming about the many settings and neighborhoods that were reminiscent of stories my parents had told me about from their youth. The author does a fabulous job of bringing the city to life as well as the family the book is centered on. This is very much a character-driven novel rather than a plot-driven novel. It's a family drama, and plays out the childhoods, teenage years, and young adulthoods of the children in the family, from what high school was like in the 1960's for a girl that didn't fit that era's feminine ideal, to what happened to young men who dropped out of college and were sent to Vietnam, to wives swept up into a culture where swinging was becoming the norm. It examines what our place in the family does to us as part of our development. Are we expected to be the golden child? Were we overlooked in the middle? Coddled as the baby? It delves into our own expectations of our siblings and parents, and how we can change people with our own perceptions. This book is a little dry in places, but I still found it very hard to put down. It's an excellent read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    I loved The Good Mother and especially While I Was Gone, both by Sue Miller. I did not love this one as much and I have been trying to understand why. The story is about a family more than about an individual. Yes, there is a main character - Nina - but her life is surrounded by the lives of her parents and siblings, and several chapters are from these other points of view. For a while I wondered if we'd ever get back to Nina, because I missed her. The controlling force in the story is Nina's old I loved The Good Mother and especially While I Was Gone, both by Sue Miller. I did not love this one as much and I have been trying to understand why. The story is about a family more than about an individual. Yes, there is a main character - Nina - but her life is surrounded by the lives of her parents and siblings, and several chapters are from these other points of view. For a while I wondered if we'd ever get back to Nina, because I missed her. The controlling force in the story is Nina's older brother Randall. Nina was the fourth child, Randall the third. Randall had neurological problems. They settled on calling him autistic but it sounds like more than that. Never mind. The label is not important. What is important is how his disability affected his parents and by extension his siblings. In getting to the seat of it all, Miller weaves back and forth in time. Sometimes I felt we were thrown from one age to another, then back again, like a carnival ride. She takes in Nina's parents and their parents in her survey, which helps to provide a basis for the action. Randall's parents felt very differently about Randall. It appeared to Lainey, his mother, that her husband David blamed her for the defects in this child. In response to this belief, Lainey goes on to have three more children - "perfect" - as a way of sorts of proving that she had nothing to do with it. Nina always felt out of it, different, because of this distinction, and her father jokingly referred to the three youngest as "the extras", the "unexpected guests", the "surprise party", the "little pitchers of health". Her father was a psychiatrist. It appears that he took his profession seriously, extending his listening manner to his family. Which contrasted with Lainey's more excitable nature. At times I was irritated by David's steady, controlled manner, and at others by Lainey's uncontrolled outbursts or her attempts at joking everyone out of a funk. I did not become fond of either. Nor did I become especially fond of Nina's older brother Mack, older than Randall but often seen as a kind of twin, the "perfect" twin. He felt pressured to perform at full volume for a while, until he threw it all away, again a response to the existence of Randall. We don't get into the minds of the younger sisters to any great degree. We do meet Liddie, the eldest, and recognize that she uses her talent, her voice, to move her farther and farther away from her family and from forming any family of her own. It's a compelling portrait of a family challenged by the one who is least aware of the others. For some reason, though, I never really felt sucked into it. Towards the end I could hardly wait for the last page, which differs from how I have felt when reading Miller's other books - that I would be sad to leave them behind.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather Muzik

    Sometimes I can be slow to digest a book, slow to come to terms with my feelings about it. In this case, when I finished Miller's book back in 2012, I unequivocally gave it four stars—there was no question that I was drawn in by her story and intrigued by the family dynamic she portrayed. I didn't care for several of the characters, although I appreciated their characterizations, for they were true and bold and agonizingly real to me. But it is only after all these months have passed and so many Sometimes I can be slow to digest a book, slow to come to terms with my feelings about it. In this case, when I finished Miller's book back in 2012, I unequivocally gave it four stars—there was no question that I was drawn in by her story and intrigued by the family dynamic she portrayed. I didn't care for several of the characters, although I appreciated their characterizations, for they were true and bold and agonizingly real to me. But it is only after all these months have passed and so many other books have been read, that I truly understand the depth of what Miller accomplished. Family Pictures has stuck with me. The story of this family... the agony, guilt, and shame that exists below the surface of this thing they call life—a life that is happening whether they are prepared for it or not—deeply resonated with me. I keep going back to it. Rehashing it. Comparing the essence of what was in these pages to other stories. And there is only one thing I can conclude from that: this is a beautifully tragic work of art. Miller has crafted a superbly timed and weighted story—each character and emotion finely honed. The subtle strains and battles of family life are magnified through the lens of autism in the 1950s. Parents and older siblings struggle to accept and endure the new way of life that Randall brings. Younger siblings accept their world as one that only exists with Randall in it. The dichotomy she fosters is so poignant. A worthy read. Five stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bamboozlepig

    This was a pretty decent read. My only one gripe is the amount of characters. There were too many siblings and they felt extraneous, especially since the focus of the novel was on Nina, Mack, Randall and their parents. Liddie, Sarah and Mary felt out of place in the narrative and had no real job to do, other than to just kind of clutter the plot. It also felt at times like the plot lacked focus and kind of wandered around. The last few chapters were on the blah side, despite there being a major d This was a pretty decent read. My only one gripe is the amount of characters. There were too many siblings and they felt extraneous, especially since the focus of the novel was on Nina, Mack, Randall and their parents. Liddie, Sarah and Mary felt out of place in the narrative and had no real job to do, other than to just kind of clutter the plot. It also felt at times like the plot lacked focus and kind of wandered around. The last few chapters were on the blah side, despite there being a major development late in the novel. That development came off as rushed and underexplored within the frame of the story. Still, Miller's storytelling was intriguing enough that overall I enjoyed the novel.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Technically a 4.5-star rating. So touching and beautifully written, with a searingly insightful understanding of the family dynamic, the pain and beauty at its core that shapes who are. It was so dead-on with its portrayal of the impact fraught family relationships have on all of us. I'm withholding the last half star only because I wasn't quite fully satisfied with the ending, and didn't understand how/why it would be Nina's chosen ending. Miller writes like a better, kinder version of Jonathan Technically a 4.5-star rating. So touching and beautifully written, with a searingly insightful understanding of the family dynamic, the pain and beauty at its core that shapes who are. It was so dead-on with its portrayal of the impact fraught family relationships have on all of us. I'm withholding the last half star only because I wasn't quite fully satisfied with the ending, and didn't understand how/why it would be Nina's chosen ending. Miller writes like a better, kinder version of Jonathan Franzen. One that's a little less cynical, more beautiful, sympathetic and appreciative of life: "I wept for a long time in her office. I wept because I felt so confused by life - I was eighteen - and its strange mixture of beauty and ugliness. Because I was frightened at the idea of giving up what I felt was all I had inside of me - my rage at my family, my pain. Because I saw that therapy, the terrible cure my father had forced on me, had brought me to this moment, the moment I thought I was evading even as I began to tell the story that contained it. I wept because it had released me and helped me in a way I never would have chosen, hadn't in fact consented to." I liked that the story is told and explored through the various points-of-view of different family members but am not quite sure get why the perspective sometimes changed from third to first, specifically when the story returns to Nina's POV (but still alternating between a first/third person perspective within her POV). While I'm sure it was intentional and purposeful, I couldn't figure out why and what it was adding, and therefore found it a bit random and distracting. I loved how the book treated Randall. While he was inevitably, irrevocably at the center/core of the story and established family dynamic, he himself is this vague, undefined character, without personality or specificity. It felt heartbreakingly real, that the family could revolve so resolutely around someone who is so 'not there.' And this, I suppose, is the power and impact that Miller's (and Franzen's) familial exploration imparts: it reminds us of all the ways that our love can inflict pain and sorrow every day, through the smallest and slightest of actions and words, on all those forced to share our days in close proximity and circumstance.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This is the first of Sue Miller's books that I've read. It was a good book but it fell short of a full five stars for me. It was a very real picture of a family broken by mental illness. I applaud Miller for her extremely believable portrait of the Eberhardt family which being torn apart by a child with autism. The family struggles through accusations from other each other, failing marriages, disruptive children, war, and so on. Based on how Miller describes these events in the lives of the Eberh This is the first of Sue Miller's books that I've read. It was a good book but it fell short of a full five stars for me. It was a very real picture of a family broken by mental illness. I applaud Miller for her extremely believable portrait of the Eberhardt family which being torn apart by a child with autism. The family struggles through accusations from other each other, failing marriages, disruptive children, war, and so on. Based on how Miller describes these events in the lives of the Eberhardts, I would have given the book five stars. Each major event is described in shifting perspective, which works on occasion but not always. These small "snapshots" of the Eberhardt family is partly where the book derives its name. However, the book was very long winded. As I said before, the shifting perspective got confusing on occasion and I would have to recheck who I was reading about at the time. The book tended to go off on tangents at times only adding to my confusion. The book appeared to be very shallow at times, but giving the time period and setting that may have been intended. The characters seemed to lack a little bit, they just weren't "real" enough to me to reach the height of a five star book. Overall, it wasn't a bad book. I liked it, but it was difficult to follow at times and could be long winded. The premise of the story was good. As strong as the descriptions were of the people, places, and events, it really just fell short of what it really could have been. With some humorous and inspiring passages, it wasn't the worst novel I've ever read, but it really could have been better.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    I quit reading this book; just couldn't get into it. Too sad. Maybe I just couldn't handle the sadness, otherwise I think the writing was good. Interesting descriptions, etc. But I kept feeling like I just didn't want to pick it up and continue. I quit reading this book; just couldn't get into it. Too sad. Maybe I just couldn't handle the sadness, otherwise I think the writing was good. Interesting descriptions, etc. But I kept feeling like I just didn't want to pick it up and continue.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Barb Dudziec

    I previously read "The Good Mother" and was totally enthralled by it. This book, however, did not draw me in and get me involved with the characters like that book did. First of all, it didn't have a good flow; it starts out as a narrative by one character - Nina - and randomly switches POV randomly. Then, in spite of each chapter being designated by date, the story doesn't really follow this timeline. Within each "time frame chapter" , the story rambles between current events and various past t I previously read "The Good Mother" and was totally enthralled by it. This book, however, did not draw me in and get me involved with the characters like that book did. First of all, it didn't have a good flow; it starts out as a narrative by one character - Nina - and randomly switches POV randomly. Then, in spite of each chapter being designated by date, the story doesn't really follow this timeline. Within each "time frame chapter" , the story rambles between current events and various past time frames. I often had to reread to determine exactly who was narrating, and when the related events fit into the overall story line. This didn't help me become invested in the characters, quite the contrary, and these characters needed help to be loved! This story held very little interest, so it came down to a character study, which was convoluted. I enjoy the author's writing style, which is why I prevailed through the reading, but she needs to develop her story ideas prior to subjecting them to the public - IMO.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    Another family story -- a strong and confident family in 1948 of mother (slightly eccentric), father (sarcastic, always cool-tempered), a boy, a girl. Then the third child is born, severely disabled. The family spends the next 40 years trying to survive upheaval, heartbreak, pain. Summary: "Everyone around here's under a lot of strain right now. No one has a lot of resilience. The edges are frayed." This was painful to read. I kept thinking that there had to be a better way to deal with the diff Another family story -- a strong and confident family in 1948 of mother (slightly eccentric), father (sarcastic, always cool-tempered), a boy, a girl. Then the third child is born, severely disabled. The family spends the next 40 years trying to survive upheaval, heartbreak, pain. Summary: "Everyone around here's under a lot of strain right now. No one has a lot of resilience. The edges are frayed." This was painful to read. I kept thinking that there had to be a better way to deal with the difficult situation, but, of course, life doesn't always have 'easy' solutions. My conclusion was that the mother was most at fault for the family suffering. "Their mother didn't know how not to fight. She couldn't take a joke, their father said. Everything mattered to her. And she fought with everyone, not just at home..." "Perhaps what is is is just that Lainey has no gift for what Freud calls 'normal misery.' Good book with lots to think about.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michele Bean

    I did not enjoy this book. Kept thinking I’d just give up on it but wanted to see where the story would go. A family with 6 kids, the third child Randall was autistic. The book starts in the 50’s and ends in the 80’s. A totally dysfunctional family, very unlikable. The father was a psychiatrist but was a horrible father. Always sarcastic. Lainey, the mom, felt it was her fault that Randall was sick and her husband felt that she was responsible also. Thus, she had 3 more kids to prove that she co I did not enjoy this book. Kept thinking I’d just give up on it but wanted to see where the story would go. A family with 6 kids, the third child Randall was autistic. The book starts in the 50’s and ends in the 80’s. A totally dysfunctional family, very unlikable. The father was a psychiatrist but was a horrible father. Always sarcastic. Lainey, the mom, felt it was her fault that Randall was sick and her husband felt that she was responsible also. Thus, she had 3 more kids to prove that she could have healthy kids. David, the dad, did not want more kids. He called the youngest three names in a sarcastic manner, 3 unexpected blessings, the latest, etc.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Meri

    Sue Miller gives us reminder of how bad some psychological theories were in the 1950s and how they could ruin a family, especially regarding children on the autism spectrum. She really portrayed the ramifications of how an autistic child can affect the family. That being said, it is a long slow book and took me awhile to get into it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    I really disliked this book. David had no redeeming qualities and I couldn’t root for him at any point in the story. Everyone was so damaged and never overcomes their circumstances. The sexual tension between family members was confusing, and left me constantly tensed that something was going to happen between them. Overall I found it very depressing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hank Stuever

    A fine novel about a family with an autistic child (I think I'm remembering that correctly; it's been 23 years), from the author of "Inventing the Abbots" and "The Good Mother." Very popular reading in the late '80s, early '90s for people in search of a middle ground between literary and fluff. A fine novel about a family with an autistic child (I think I'm remembering that correctly; it's been 23 years), from the author of "Inventing the Abbots" and "The Good Mother." Very popular reading in the late '80s, early '90s for people in search of a middle ground between literary and fluff.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Hazlett

    You will think this is the story of YOUR family life.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wilma

    A complicated family of six children, the third on is autistic. Slow read for me. Very well written. I'm not sure I'd recommend it. A complicated family of six children, the third on is autistic. Slow read for me. Very well written. I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Didn't finish anybody's stories, except Randall. Didn't finish anybody's stories, except Randall.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    I enjoyed this book, having bought it second hand on a complete whim. This is the first work I've read by Miller and her writing style and skill intrigued me; i'm likely to explore her better-received novels in the future. As for the story itself, it was tiring yet rewarding to read. There are many events packed into a full 400 or so pages. I felt especially good about the discussion of family trauma and seeing how it affected each of the kids in the family throughout their lives. This is one of I enjoyed this book, having bought it second hand on a complete whim. This is the first work I've read by Miller and her writing style and skill intrigued me; i'm likely to explore her better-received novels in the future. As for the story itself, it was tiring yet rewarding to read. There are many events packed into a full 400 or so pages. I felt especially good about the discussion of family trauma and seeing how it affected each of the kids in the family throughout their lives. This is one of the very few literary works I've seen that explores trauma in a nuanced way and shows that forgiveness does not repair the wounds of the past. That said, there were times through the book that I felt like I was reading a soft porno. Between explicit sex scenes and what seemed to be a complete obsession with Freud coming from Miller herself, I was often given physical relationship descriptions rather than emotional ones. Especially in Nina's love affair with the assistant-director, the descriptions were purely based on their physical connection. It would have been nice to also hear about their personalities interacting. In short, the sex scenes sometimes aided in the character development but other times seemed unnecessary and boring. Mostly, I was uncomfortable with the actual application of Freud's (since debunked) theories of family dynamic. 5/5 for excellent writing and progression through the lives of characters. almost lost a star because too much Freud

  22. 5 out of 5

    R.f.mezzy

    I loved this book. The theme of the effect on the whole family of one impaired child fascinates me. I know many people who grew up this way. The author takes her time in telling this story, which I found quite delicious. All of the characters got their turn at being more fully developed as time went on. I was deeply attached to them and enjoyed watching the story unfold in some unexpected ways. This is a book I read a long time ago and could not forget, but unfortunately I forgot the title and a I loved this book. The theme of the effect on the whole family of one impaired child fascinates me. I know many people who grew up this way. The author takes her time in telling this story, which I found quite delicious. All of the characters got their turn at being more fully developed as time went on. I was deeply attached to them and enjoyed watching the story unfold in some unexpected ways. This is a book I read a long time ago and could not forget, but unfortunately I forgot the title and author. I searched for years with all sorts of googled words and then one day I figured it out via a GoodReads blurb. I was so excited to find it and enjoyed it all over again, having forgotten enough to have it surprise me the second time. I understand why authors/publishers want to have amorphous titles like "Family Pictures," but it's still annoying when it comes time to find them again! Highly recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Irene Tanzman

    I rated Family Pictures four stars because the book discusses how a child with severe autism can have an effect on a family. This is an important topic, and Miller deserves credit for tackling this subject. The setting is Chicago during the times when the psychological and medical communities believed the poor mothering theories promoted by the Bruno Bettelheim and Orthogenics School at the University of Chicago. There is an undercurrent of this situation throughout parts of the book, although n I rated Family Pictures four stars because the book discusses how a child with severe autism can have an effect on a family. This is an important topic, and Miller deserves credit for tackling this subject. The setting is Chicago during the times when the psychological and medical communities believed the poor mothering theories promoted by the Bruno Bettelheim and Orthogenics School at the University of Chicago. There is an undercurrent of this situation throughout parts of the book, although not much is specifically stated. There are some confusing time shifts in the book, and the description was very detailed.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mags

    This is a story about a semi-dysfunctional but loving family. I really enjoyed this book. I like how this book is more character-driven than a plot-driven novel. It's about a family drama and it plays out the childhood, teenage years, and young adulthood of the children in the family. It explores what our place in the family does to us as part of our development. It probes into our own expectations of our siblings and parents. This book can get a little boring in some places, but I still enjoyed This is a story about a semi-dysfunctional but loving family. I really enjoyed this book. I like how this book is more character-driven than a plot-driven novel. It's about a family drama and it plays out the childhood, teenage years, and young adulthood of the children in the family. It explores what our place in the family does to us as part of our development. It probes into our own expectations of our siblings and parents. This book can get a little boring in some places, but I still enjoyed reading it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christi

    This book had a lot of atmosphere; this reader felt like she was growing up in the 60s with this family. The family had dysfunction, but not abuse; most of the conflict centered around the parents disagreeing on how to raise their autistic child, which was interesting to me. However, I had trouble following the back-and-forth leaps in time in this novel. Also, perspective changes are abrupt, and did nothing to move the story along at a good pace.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is not an easy book because of the plot and the emotions that go along with it. The family in the story has an autistic son, a psychiatrist father, a mother whose emotions bounce around, and five other children who have challenges too. Very well written--Sue Miller is a great writer--but the book will be difficult for some to finish.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karen Wilczopolski

    I just couldn’t connect with the characters. No one seemed completely “finished”. It was scattered and I can’t tell whose perspective it was actually about, until the last chapter or so. I kept hoping for that breakthrough moment but it never came.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather Stevens

    The story was good, but sometimes disjointed. I had to look back at the chapters occasionally to help remember where in the timeline we were.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sal Bo

    I have read this book a few times, and enjoy it each time. A large family with an autistic son, and how they cope. Good read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Mccracken

    Well written but full of angst.

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