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Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Loved Ones by Mary Beth Hughes

This book got wonderful reviews, which is what led me to read it, but I have to admit that I really did not like it.  Not at all.  Not one person in the book could I sympathize with or care very much about.
The story chronicles the dysfunctional Devlin family, both before but mostly after their son dies.  Speaking as a woman who had a brother die when she was ten, the effect of a death in childhood reverberates across the lives of all those involved, but it doesn't necessarily go this poorly.  It’s a cold almost humorless book, firing shots of dysfunction, addiction, and poor mental and physical health with absolutely no intervening commentary.  It is well written but the aloofness of the tone made it hard for me to really reflect on the content, and I learned nothing from reading it.  Which is not to say that I always have to learn something, but it is nice when that can happen, and disappointing when it doesn't.

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