Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Story Description: 

Pearl Tull is nearing the end of her life but not of her memory. It was a Sunday night in 1944 when her husband left the little row house on Baltimore’s Calvert Street, abandoning Pearl to raise their three children alone: Jenny, high-spirited and determined, nurturing to strangers but distant to those she loves; the older son, Cody, a wild and incorrigible youth possessed by the lure of power and money; and sweet, clumsy Ezra, Pearl’s favourite, who never stops yearning for the perfect family that could never be his own.

Now Pearl and her three grown children have gathered together again–with anger, hope, and a beautiful, harsh, and dazzling story to tell. 

My Review: 

Anne Tyler is an extraordinary author with the talent to create quirky characters and develop a great storyline. 

Pearl Tull is 85-years-old and on her deathbed.  Pearl and each of her three children all give different viewpoints about their dysfunctional family.  Pearl is only in her 30’s when her husband, Beck, walks away from her leaving Pearl to raise Ezra, Cody, and Jenny on her own.  Pearl has her own issues but so does each of the kids – all clearly strange in some manner.  Her biggest problem, aside from her quirky nature, is taking her feelings out on the children. 

Pearl always felt something was amiss with each of her children in some sort of perverse way that she couldn’t quite put her finger on it.  Each child seemed to have a “trademark flaw”.  Cody was prone to rages; Jenny was flippant; and clumsy Ezra hadn’t really lived up to his potential.  She wondered if her children blamed her for something and it really bothered her that not one of her children “possessed a shred of curiosity.” 

This family is so dysfunctional that almost everyone can identify with them in some way.  There is so much to this story that it’s hard to sum up without going on for pages and pages.  There isn’t a word or paragraph wasted, so no plodding through unimportant detail. 

This was my first Anne Tyler read and I’ll definitely be picking up Ms. Tyler’s other novels! 

1 comment: