Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Good Family- Erik Fassnacht

Reviewing an advance copy received from NetGalley.
This was a good first try. Well written and edited, which goes a long way with me. A Good Family is a story about the Brunsons, a highly dysfunctional family. Henry, the Father, has pretty much abandoned them to fast cars, a nice condo and younger girls. Julie, the mother, is depressed and barely hanging on to life by downing her Zolofts. Their first born son Charlie, had some sort of early life crisis and dumped everything to join the army. Which leaves us with the youngest, Barkley, who's actually the only normal one and just wants to become a teacher. We follow the lives of each of them as they deal with their shit and move on with life.

I enjoyed reading Barkley's and Julie's arcs. I cared about the characters and could clearly see their development and understood how it happened. With Charlie and Henry this wasn't the case. I didn't buy Charlie's guilt over what happened in Afghanistan, it felt forced and cliché. The way he got rid of the guilt wasn't convincing either, how do you fixate on something for so long and then just suddenly let go, just like that? It didn't make sense and I didn't feel like it was given the importance and time that it needed. There is something deeply disturbing about Henry, he's clearly totally fucked up in the head. Is it justifiable though? I mean psychologically justifiable to be this fucked up due to that event in his childhood? More pages were spent talking us through his day to day life than on examining his psyche, which bored me and didn't sell his story very well.

Bottom line, this was a decent first book, albeit unoriginal, that shows potential.

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