Sunday, June 18, 2006

What I'm Reading -- Family and Other Accidents by Shari Goldhagen

Family and Other Accidents is the debut novel of Midwestern writer Shari Goldhagen. This novel is about the relationships of two brothers left without their parents. Goldhagen begins with 27-year old Jack and 17-year old Connor living in their parents old home in Cleveland. The book then covers the next 25 years of their lives following the hard-working and womanizing lawyer in Jack and the nervous, shy Connor from Cleveland to New York to Chicago. Obviously, Family and Other Accidents is mainly about the relationships of brothers and the author was quite authentic in this regard. She does on occasion seem to change some of the characters’ attitudes and personalities without much explanation. This is partly due to her style, which is to show different scenes years apart from each other, though I think she still should have been a bit more consistent. At its most raw Jack and Connor are used to show how selfishness affects others so profoundly. The many characters in this book are almost all engaging and the novel excels in some of its vivid and stark moments. This is good debut fiction.

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