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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review - Family album by Penelope Lively

I have not been very successful in finding out books in my TBR pile but I have in the course of my journey been able to pull out books which I have not heard mention amongst all the book blogs I visit. One of these was Family album. I liked the cover - six sets of Wellington boots obviously in a boot cupboard and when I read an excerpt I was hooked.

I like family stories and this one definitely is. Mix an earth mother with a distracted (so he seems) academic father who thinks he is a cut above the daily grind, six children (ok ok one of them is a result of an adulterous one off relationship with the au pair) but everyone ignores that bit and the family lives in ignorant bliss of all the ramifications of this and everything else in a mish mash of growing up in a large family. Overlooking it all is Aldersmead - which is the dominant character of the story and in hindsight influences all the children - from the way they want to live to the fact that no one wants to live their life in the same kind of sprawling house that they lived in as children.

The story is a simple one - of Allison who with much stoicism only wishes to be a mother to her brood - providing comfort in the form of good food for which she becomes renowned, to an almost absent father who distances himself from his children and from every issue and problem which needs a decision made, to the relationships that form between the siblings - some good, some not so.

The book is a comfortable read and one with which (I am repeating myself) that we could all identify irrespective of whether we come from single child or multiple child households!!! I enjoyed the simplicity of the story and the book and would like to recommend this book.


  1. Sounds terrific. I have a Lively book somewhere around here but I might add this one to my stash as well :-)

  2. Sounds good, i like family stories too

  3. I took this one out of the library but never read it. Your review makes me wish I had read it.

  4. I read a different Lively novel in high school (Moon Tiger) and loved it. I really do need to read more of her!