Book 21 of my 2017 Reading Challenge
read from March 26 - April 16
They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine
Summary (via Goodreads)
The Bergman clan has always stuck together, growing as it incorporated in-laws, ex-in-laws, and same-sex spouses. But families don't just grow, they grow old, and the clan's matriarch, Joy, is not slipping into old age with the quiet grace her children, Molly and Daniel, would have wished. When Joy's beloved husband dies, Molly and Daniel have no shortage of solutions for their mother's loneliness and despair, but there is one challenge they did not count on: the reappearance of an ardent suitor from Joy's college days. And they didn't count on Joy herself, a mother suddenly as willful and rebellious as their own kids.
This book is like people-watching because it's a book about a regular family. There's drama but no huge problem and an ending that wasn't really an ending but was fitting for the book. It's like reading a snapshot of how one family came together to handle the death of their husband/father and the balance between grieving and continuing to live their daily lives.
It's a quick read while it's happening but not very memorable when it's over (not an insult).
I felt the words, including this passage as Joy (the widowed mother) returned to her apartment after a trip to visit her daughter:
"The sadness was there, waiting for her in the apartment. I'm sorry, Joy said to the sadness. I'm sorry I had to leave you behind for so long. But, believe me, the blue skies never fooled me, you were in my thoughts, in my heart, every minute. She looked out the window at the rain and the wet trees and the bleary spots of red taillights and white headlights. I'm home, she said, with relief, to the emptiness."
Quote from the Book
"Joy woke up and, as usual, Aaron was dead."