Monday, February 21, 2011

Musing Monday...We Are Family...

It Monday, so it's Musing Monday time, as always hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.

This week’s Musing Mondays post asks…In honor of the Canadian “Family Day” holiday, today, I’m curious… What was the last book (or, what was your favorite book) that dealt with family? What did you like / dislike about it?

When I first read this question, a couple of books that I read recently came to mind, books that clearly had a family at the center.
But when I though about it a bit more, I realized that many, many books, sometimes in a slightly less direct way, have family at the core of the story.
Which only makes sense, because we are all the result of a family of some sort, aren't we, and if a book explore a character, that often involves his family.

Take a book I just finished, but have not reviewed yet, Maisie Dobbs. Yes, in part it is a conventional mystery, since our heroine is a private detective in England of the 1920's. But in reality, a lot of the book is about getting to know Maisie and how she came to this unusual job for a woman of this era. Part of this is, without question, her relationship with her family. Key to Maisie is her relationship with her father, with who she has a wonderful loving relationship, and her deceased mother. But it also about the relationship she develops with the woman she goes to work for as a young girl, who in many ways becomes a second mother and has a huge role in guiding her life. This book speaks about how a strong, loving parent can be so important to a child, even when they must do things that cause themselves heartache in doing so. And I also love the idea that 'family' is not always just determined by blood, which I think this book explores.

A second book that comes to mind, maybe because I loved it so much, is Safe From The Sea. Perhaps this one is a bit more conventionally about family because relationships...rocky, strained, endangered, wished for..are at the center of this book. We have a father and son struggling to reconcile before death separates them and then we see how that son, shaped by his absent father, is still playing those issues out in his own relationship with his wife now. This parent is almost the exact opposite of the father in the first book, but nevertheless, has a huge influence in the man his son became. The son is a good man, who loves his wife and even, in a way, loves his father, as his actions attest, but still can not escape totally from the effect their relationship had on him.
I liked this book so much that even though I read it as a free e-book I had to go buy a hard copy to I need more books....

What would authors...and psychiatrists...have to talk about if it weren't for families?


  1. Safe From The Sea is going on my tbr list...if it had that kind of impact on you, it must have been a great book.

  2. Families do make such an interesting topic to read about. I've been anxious to read Safe from the Sea for a while and you've made me want to drop everything and read it right now.

  3. Families are always in vogue since nearly everyone can empathize.

    Oh, there's several versions of We Are Family...

  4. I love that you had to go buy a hard copy of the book you loved. (I did that too with The Book Thief.)

    And I think most books deal with family in some way ... how can they not?


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