Tag Archives: ann patchett

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett: A Review


Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first Ann Patchett book was a collection of essays she wrote for various magazines, This is a Story of a Happy Marriage, but a friend recommended I read her fiction. I have to say the fiction is much better. I really enjoyed this book.
The story follows two families, the Cousins and the Keatings, and how their lives intertwine. The chapters are not in chronological order, which can be a little disconcerting at the beginning, but they flow really nicely. The overall story is really beautiful.
There is a lot of character transformation. We see the kids from each family grow up. Something tragic happens when they are young, and it affects both families a lot. And each kid handles it differently. In fact, towards the end, one of the main characters, Franny, thinks about all of the events in their lives and how it would have been different. You know, like if this didn’t happen, then I wouldn’t have gone here and met this person and gotten married kind of thing. But it was kind of an “everything happens the way it’s supposed to” inner monologue.
The plot is a bit twisty. Some of the things that happen in the end I didn’t expect. And the main tragic event’s details are slowly revealed through the stories of the characters and how they deal with it. I thought it was going one way, but it went a different way entirely.
There is some profanity in the book. The “F” word is used but not overly so. The sexual content isn’t explicit, but kissing and infidelity are in the stories. There are some violent aspects to the book. One of the husbands is a cop and early on, he talks about his partner dying by getting shot. There are guns mentioned throughout the book and there are a few deaths, but nothing really detailed.
This book is really relatable. The people in this book are very realistic, flawed, and beautiful. It’s easy to have favorites in one story and then completely change your mind in the next chapter. But overall, you want good things for these people. And it’s just simply beautiful.

March TBR

Since the books from Black History month worked out so well, I thought I would try to do it again for Women’s History Month.  Of course, I have a lot of books written by women, so I tried to whittle it down to the four books. It was really hard because there is so much I want to read. Here’s my final four.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.  It’s funny because before I chose this book, I saw nothing but accolades for it, but after I chose it, I’ve been seeing a lot of harsher critiques.  I’m trying to go in with an open mind and make my own decision.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.  A friend recommended it a year ago and it has been sitting on my shelf for a while, so I’m finally going to read it.  I read a collection of her essays which were okay, but I’m hoping to enjoy her fiction more.

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson.  The second book in the Truly Devious series.  I read the first on towards the end of last year so excited to continue this mystery!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  I’m a little intimidated about this book, but I really love Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights so I am interested to see how much I like her sister’s novel.

What are you reading this month?