Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Home" Marilynne Robinson

I feel as if I need to apologize to all those who loved this book before I begin my review. I didn't love this book. I liked it, it was okay, but I didn't love it. I've read various reviews on blogs that I follow and I've followed the discussion on Harper-Collins Canada's Facebook group, and most people loved the book, but I just didn't. I found that I plodded through it; it took me about a week to read through it, although I usually finish off a book in a day or three. My favourite part was actually the last ten or so pages, when the conclusions started coming fast and hard.

"Home" is the the story of Glory, who comes back to her childhood home to care for her ailing father. Glory hasn't been home for long when Jack, the prodigal son, returns home as well. Jack has been away for 20 years and their father is thrilled to see him, although he seems to be battling some very private demons. Throughout the book Glory and Jack's relationship deepens, changing from the superficial bond that they had as children to a more adult understanding. Glory shares some of the trials that she's been through in her life with Jack and he in turn shares what his life was like for the last 20 years of his absence.

I would have thought that this would be the extent of the book's meaning, however I like to give myself a couple of days to really think about a book before I blog about it. What I found after a couple of days of reflection is that this book was about coming home. It's about having a place to come to when the world has let you down, a place that is safe and warm and familiar. Even though my husband and I have been living together for almost six years, and have made our own home with our children, a small piece of us still considers our parent's houses as "home". My husband lived in his childhood home, where his parents still live, for almost 20 years, and when he's there he feels just as comfortable as when he was growing up. Even though my parents have moved from my childhood home, I still feel like their home is mine as well, possibly because we still try to spend time there. There is something incomparable to coming home, to be able to revert back to being a child when the adult world can be so frightening. I think that this is what Robinson was trying to get across with her book, and that she did well.

This is the second book that I've read for Harper-Collins' Fabulous Fall Reading Challenge. For more on Marilynne Robinson's "Home", click here.

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