The Children's Crusade: A Novel (2000)
The Children's Crusade: A Novel (2000)
3.93 of 5 Votes: 1
1476710457 (ISBN13: 9781476710457)
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This is a beautifully written, honest portrayal of one northern California family spanning the 1950's to present day. It is an examination of how the familial experiences of a childhood can mold a person's adult identity. I loved the complicated and fully developed characters; Bill, the loving, attentive "good" parent who was never able or willing to meet or read his wife's emotional needs, the four siblings, the first two brilliant overachievers, the third sibling, a sensitive hippie-type and the youngest, the black sheep drifter, whose arrival back in their neat adult lives causes all of the children to confront the damage their emotionally and eventually physically distant mother caused them. The historical details that Packer utilized added an interesting backdrop including the Jonestown mass suicide and the murder of the San Francisco mayor and Harvey Milk as well as the physical features of the Bay area. My only criticism is that the mother's perspective was not as fully detailed as the other characters and her story is perhaps the most interesting; did she feel any guilt, shame or regret that she wasn't emotionally cut out to be a mother of four? I liked that this story was told through all of their perspectives but it jumped perspective too abruptly at times. Nope, it didn't work for me. I thought this would be a cool read: a story about a family told over the course of decades in California. Sounds great! It can work really well for me (We Are Not Ourselves) or maybe it won't (Everything I Never Told You), although the second one is really focused on a specific event than many years. Not so much. I don't like non-linear stories, but it can work for me if an author is skillful in making the characters come alive. While I thought the book started off REALLY well, focusing on how the parents met and the start of their courtship, then it quickly went downhill. The kids are introduced about a year later, and I immediately had trouble telling who was who (and for some reason found this part really boring). Although I was willing to be patient with it and see if it would come together, this was not a good start. I'm not sure what the author was trying to do with the extended look of the children at this time, but I was totally not interested. A disappointment overall. I'd skip it.
My question with this book is- Could a mother really act this way?
So incredibly dry to read. Couldn't force myself past halfway.
very confusing....didn't finish
[4/5 stars]
Loved it!
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