Sunday, December 13, 2009

Judith Guest - Errands: A Novel

33. Errands: A Novel by Judith Guest (1997)
Length: 335 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 12 December 2009
Finished: 13 December 2009
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 November 2009
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Judith Guest is a new author for me.

Somewhere along the highway, just past the small farming community of Au Gres, Michigan, the Browner family is on their way to take a vacation. This has been their routine for the past six years, and they know it like the back seat of their family's old station wagon. Just north of Bay City, Michigan, taking the highway past Au Gres, leads to a stunning view of Lake Huron.

Keith, Annie, and their three children have rented the same cottage here every summer for the past six years. However, a shadow has fallen over this particular trip; Keith has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. While this is a diagnosis that Keith has accepted as his fate, Annie steadfastly refuses to accept what is an inevitable conclusion. She honestly cannot accept that their lives together are coming to such an abrupt end; she absolutely will not accept such a fate.

Annie's once stable, secure and blissfully happy marriage to Keith soon comes to an end after seventeen years together. After his death, Annie finds her entire world turned completely upside down. Her three children have inexplicably become sources of nagging frustration for her. Consumed with her grief, struggling against mounting bills, and facing an onslaught of once-simple everyday tasks that now seem insurmountable, Annie fails to comprehend that her family is actually beginning to come apart. 

Annie's sister, Jess, does her best to comfort her, yet she has also begun to realize that the boundaries of their own close relationship are being stretched to their limits. Annie's three children are also dealing with their father's loss in their own ways; whether for good or ill. Thirteen-year-old Harry, the eldest of the Browner children, has slipped into a strange new attitude, brooding and angry, roaming the streets with a rebellious new friend. Julie, the youngest child at nine, starts to lie about her whereabouts, although she keeps a secret journal that reveals her true feelings.

Jimmy, forever sandwiched in the middle at eleven-years-old, has always been the peacemaker of the family. It is a role that he can no longer stand for himself, as the pressure of such a placement is becoming so much more overwhelming for the child. As each child moves toward his or her own level of acceptance, a second threatening life event will transform the children as well as Annie herself - teaching them all that, even with the devastating loss of Keith, they are still a family - albeit a different family, yet one which is no less loving, real, and enduring than they had been with him as their husband and father.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. In my opinion, it is a touching and poignant story that really drew me into its flow and pace. This was such a well-developed plot, peopled with a variety of intriguing characters and an excellent storyline. I give this book a definite A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

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