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#464 ~ Maine


Maine by J Courtney Sullivan

Published by: Knopf

Published on: June 2011

Page Count: 400

Genre: General Fiction

My Reading Format: Hardcover book gifted to me by Tanya after she saw me drooling over it on my #RH300K Pinterest board. Thank you!

Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook


Summary from the Publisher

For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials “A.H.” At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface.

As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago.

By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other.


My Review

I have wanted to read Maine since it was first released. When I won Random House’s #RH300K contest, it was one of the first books I pinned on my wish list. Seeing the pin, my good friend Tanya offered to send me her copy. I readily accepted her gracious offer. She read it on vacation and I saved it to read on mine. I couldn’t have asked for a better end of vacation read.

I’m certainly not renowned for researching my reads. I prefer to be surprised by as much as possible by the book. So, going in to Maine, I knew that this was a family drama and assumed that the State of Maine figured into the story in some way. I’m so glad that is all that I knew. I was so pleasantly surprised by the quirkiness of the characters and the role that the Catholic Church played in their lives. Growing up Catholic, I could relate very much to the characters. If I didn’t share their opinions on faith and the Church, someone I’m related to or know very well did.

J Courtney Sullivan is a talented author and I enjoyed every moment with the women in the Kelleher family. It made me want to visit Maine and rent a beach house. Reading it at the ocean, I could almost picture it. I cared for the characters and loved them despite their flaws. It is heartbreaking when a family’s rock passes away and the adult siblings aren’t capable to cope well. I’ve seen adult children make a mess of what has been left behind and Maine captures the emotion and the aftershocks so well. I saw myself and members of my family in each of the characters. When I finished this book, it was with a satisfied sigh. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

6 Comments

  • At 2012.09.05 07:16, Sandy said:

    So many people have loved this book, and I understand why. But i was in the minority and didn’t love it. I guess I kept expecting something to HAPPEN, and nothing did, but the self-destructive crap within this family. That should be enough for me, I know, so I think it was a matter if mismanaged expectations, a weird mood, or something.

    • At 2012.09.05 09:00, Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick said:

      I checked this book out of the library and wasn’t able to get to it before I had to return it. I’ve got another hold on it, so hopefully it comes soon. I’m always a fan of these sleepy beach reads.

      • At 2012.09.05 09:33, JoAnn said:

        This definitely sounds like my kind of book – there’s nothing like a good family drama and I love Maine! We missed visiting this summer, but reading the book may be the next best thing.

        • At 2012.09.05 16:31, bermudaonion(Kathy) said:

          I needed more plot than this book had to offer, so I didn’t love it. I passed it on to my mother and she did.

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          • At 2012.09.05 21:40, Anita said:

            I loved this book, I raved and have sold it to lots of people because of the family dynamics, the women, everything just hit home for me, so happy to hear it worked for you.

            • At 2012.09.10 16:11, Julie said:

              This book is on my TBR list.

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