Saturday, October 2, 2021

Good Eggs

  Good Eggs
Author:  Rebecca Hardiman
Publication Information:  Atria Books. 2021. 336 pages.
ISBN:  978-1982164294

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Three-quarters fo the way to the tuck shop, a trek she will come to deeply regret, Millie Gogarty realizes she's been barreling along in second gear, oblivious to the guttural grinding from the bowels of her Renault."

Favorite Quote:  "Her own string of heartaches, on balance, strikes her as scant and humbling. Maybe she has plenty, or enough."

Good Eggs begins in an Irish village (Dun Laoghaire) as the story of a woman of a certain age finding herself limited due to certain ailments but ready to take on her life and the world. Many delightful stories have been written on this premise. This book, however, then proceeds into the story of the dysfunctional Gogarty family. Many delightful books have also been written about dysfunctional families. This book further proceeds into story of elder care and the advantages and challenges that presents. This is an important issue that I have not seen much fiction about. So, I appreciate the conversation this book may start about a serious concern that should be discussed.

The story is that of three generations. Millie who is 80 something. Her son Kevin who is currently unemployed, looking for work and stay-at-home father to his children. His sixteen year old daughter Aileen who is a teenager looking to find her place in the world and at times seems completely at odds with the world around her and the people in it.

Millie has dreams of going to the United States. She is a compulsive shoplifter. She lives on her own at this time but relies on Kevin for support. Yet, she struggles with her family's attempt to, what she feels, limit her freedom. Kevin is looking for work and trying to manage his wife's absences for work, the needs and challenges of his four children who seem at odds with each other, his aging mother, and his own needs and wants. Kevin's wife is the workaholic in the background of this family dynamic. Aileen has always felt as if she pales in comparison to her sister, and her sister highlights that difference whenever possible. Normal sibling rivalry or something more? It is unclear, but somehow Aileen is the one who ends up in a boarding school as a result of her behavior. Into this mix are throws both friends and foes and foes who seem at the beginning like friends.

The interesting aspect of this book is that it seems to set out to break out of the definitions of gender roles which is refreshing. A workaholic wife and mother who is the major breadwinner of the home. An unemployed husband and father who seems to be drifting along. A villain - although conman is a more appropriate level of villainous  in this case - who is a woman. I appreciate the portrayals of the characters in this regard.

The issue in this book is that I find myself not relating to or particularly even liking the characters in this book. Books of this nature rely on a protagonist to root for. Unfortunately, that does not happen for me in this book. The book description states a humorous read. Unfortunately, the humor escapes me. Rather, a sense of meanness and pettiness remains. The book description also promises a heartfelt read. A struggling teen and elder abuse should pull at the heart strings. However, in this case, it fails to.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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