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Reunion by Hannah Pittard


This is a new author to me.  If you enjoy reading about estranged and dysfunctional families, then I think you would enjoy this one — I did. It’s a quick read and told through the narration of the main character, Kate Pulaski.

The first line of the book is, “On June 16, at roughly eight-thirty in the morning, I get the phone call that my father is dead,” which makes you want to keep reading.  At least I did.

Kate’s life is pretty well in shambles before she finds out about her father’s suicidal death.  Her siblings tell her she has to travel to Atlanta for the funeral, which she can neither afford nor wants to face.  The book covers the next four days of her coping with face-to-face encounters with her four stepmothers and many half-siblings.  As Kate haphazardly deals with her messed up life, she also comes to terms with her relationship with her father.  The book has sibling relationships, adultery, childhood issues, and so much more, so enjoy.

Her : A Memoir by Christa Parravani


This was a fascinating memoir written by the author about her identical twin sister, Cara. I was drawn to this book because I had heard that the two girls had been raised and went to school in the Capital District and there are certainly many references to local landmarks. As you may imagine, the girls are more than close growing up and share many interests. However, Cara veers down a different path as she spirals into drug abuse. She also is the victim of rape and that also serves to send her into further descent. Christa tries to help her sister over and over again with various results. Unfortunately her sister dies of a drug overdose and leaves Christa behind to try and pick up the pieces. Christa then sees all too clearly that the odds are not in her favor of surviving – over 50% of surviving twins don’t live past 2 years after their twin dies. Christa then has her own struggles as she tries to reconcile what happened to her sister and slowly but surely fights back to live in the present. This is a powerfully written book, at times funny and heartbreaking but ultimately shoings how strong the human spirit is.

Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Jane Maxwell

Jane - the woman who loved Tarzan

(Audiobook)  It’s 1905 in Cambridge, England.  This story follows the adventures of Jane Porter from her time as the only woman student in Cambridge University’s medical program to her ill-fated travels in Africa with her father.  There they search for fossils that will prove Darwin’s theories.  Jane, after being injured, is rescued by Tarzan.  Various reviews of the book are critical of many aspects of the story that vary from the original Tarzan of the Apes series.  This book is, however, authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate.  I was prepared to like the audiobook and, in spite of changes in the story, found this to be a fine romance with strong characters, well read and performed, and very enjoyable.  Jane is a woman ahead of her time and takes a dominant role as the main character.

The Dinner by Herman Koch

The Dinner

This novel revolves around two brothers and their wives having a five-course dinner in a very upscale Amsterdam restaurant in the Netherlands. They have come together for an uncomfortable conversation. One of the brothers, Serge, is a famous politician while the other brother, Paul, is a “retired” history teacher. The brothers don’t get along.  As the story unfolds, you learn that Paul, the narrator, actually loathes his older brother and can’t understand how his sister-in-law can tolerate him. Their 15-year old sons, however, do get along, and it is discovered that they have done something extremely awful, which is the reason for this uncomfortable dinner. The boys’ actions are so shocking that the whole nation is upset after seeing video footage of the incident on the nightly news. The boys’ identities are not generally known because their faces were never seen. However, the parents do know what their sons have done.  As the dinner progresses, it’s amazing and alarming to see how far these families will go to protect their children, even when they have committed a crime. This is a very quick read because, as the tension in the story builds between each course, you don’t want to stop reading until you see how these two very different families deal with their compulsion that their children can do no wrong.