Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2011, 388 pages)
If you didn’t know it, you couldn’t guess that Alice, Kathleen, Ann Marie, and Maggie are a part of the same family. Their personalities clash and their outlooks on life are from different worlds. Alice is the grandmother who is always quick to judge and free to speak her mind. After the death of her sister, she spent her life dedicated to the church and trying to forget her sins. Kathleen, Alice’s daughter, grew up resenting her mother and her badgering. Kathleen is a divorced, recovering alcoholic and moved across the country to a worm farm to escape her family. Ann Marie is Alice’s daughter-in-law and is constantly striving to provide for everyone around her. Now that all her children have moved out, she fills her time with doll houses and a scandalous crush. Maggie is Kathleen’s daughter who is struggling with the news that she is pregnant and trying to keep the peace with her boyfriend long enough to tell him. One of the few things they have in common that summer is the family’s Maine beach house and the closure it brings.
This is the second book I’ve read from Sullivan and I really enjoy her writing style. I love how she takes four people that seem completely different and connects them all in some way. It’s really interesting how she builds her characters and their storylines. Out of the four characters, I probably couldn’t pick one favorite because I loved them all. I love Alice’s snarkiness, Kathleen’s independence, Ann Marie’s innocence, and Maggie’s devotion. This was a great end of the summer beach read that kept me entertained through every page.
You can also check out Julia’s review.