Year 4, Book 39

39. At Wakes and Weddings by Alice McDermott
I really enjoyed Charming Billy, so I quickly picked up another book by Alice McDermott. Unfortunately At Wakes and Weddings was not nearly as good. I had a really hard time following what was going on in this book. McDermott apparently has issues with using way too many prepositions, which I am surprised her editor hasn’t pointed out to her. I thought the same thing when reading Charming Billy, but had less of a problem following it. This time there were way too many hes and shes for me to figure out who was even being talked about half the time. The story is sort of about 3 generations of an Irish family living in New York. The oldest generation is really just the stepmother/aunt of the second generation. Their real mother and father who both died early in their childhood aren’t really part of the story. The original mother and father had 4 daughters and then the father had one son with his wife’s sister how he marries after his first wife’s death. Three of the 4 daughters live with their stepmother “Momma” even though they are well into adulthood. It never really made sense to me why. There were veiled allusions to something being wrong with the youngest, but I could never figure out what. One of the others was a nun, but then got kicked out, again it was not really clear why. And the one who actually doesn’t live there anymore is the mother of the third generation her son and 2 daughters. She drags them to the house where her stepmother and sisters live several times a week to complain about her marriage. I didn’t really follow this story much if there even was one. I couldn’t figure out the point of anything and the way it kept jumping back and forth in time coupled with all the pronouns made it even harder to figure out if there was something really going on. If you’re going to read something by Alice McDermott I wouldn’t recommend this book. I give it a 4 out of 10.

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