Thursday, August 1, 2013

Run by Ann Patchett

Since their mother's death, Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving, possessive, and ambitious father. As the former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding New England snowstorm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard Doyle cares about is his ability to keep his children—all his children—safe.

Set over a period of twenty-four hours, Run takes us from the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard to a home for retired Catholic priests in downtown Boston. It shows us how worlds of privilege and poverty can coexist only blocks apart from each other, and how family can include people you've never even met.

My take: 2 looks
This book left me very flat. I am a steadfast fan of Patchett and her beautiful, fluid writing style, but this story was completely unbelievable to me.

The adoption of two boys, the mother who never truly leaves them, the older brother with issues, the father who is good and yet vacant, and the young girl who runs like the wind. Too, too much going on here for one 24-hour period. Introductions to all, but no meat to any of it.

Sullivan: What is the story on the Sullivan's stealing? What truly motivated him and how was he caught? How does he feel now? What is the sarcasm hiding, deep in his psyche?

Teddy and Tip: They seem very well adjusted for two black boys adopted by the Irish family who turns out to be Boston royalty. And that sea-change at the end, only to go back again. Really? Are they that selfish?

Tennessee and Kenya: Is it just me, or do these names reek of what Spike Lee would call "coonery"?

The statue: We are introduced to a family dispute at the beginning to have it go nowhere. And the statue's ownership at the end surely must have caused some controversy...nothing.

So much more could have been done with this 24-hour period. Instead of taking on all characters and painting a thin layer of each, I would have preferred a more compact story with greater detail. However, if you've seen Patchett interviewed about her books, you know enough to not criticize or ask for more detail without extracting some venom.

If you like Patchett, read this so you will have her entire repertoire, but don't expect another Bel Canto.

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