For June we picked The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. It was on all of our to-read lists so we figured it would be a good one to tackle. Smart phones = making book picking so much easier. We've used our goodreads app many a time to see what we all want to read and make a pick and to check out the local library and/or amazon for availability and pricing!
Description: Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.
With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.
We didn't spend much time discussing the book as the majority ended up not really caring for it. One member said, "Well, I like everything!" and had read Olive Kitteridge and said this was a book of fresh air compared to that one, though she loved that book as well. It did seem like a dark dreary sad tale to me, and I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. Someone compared how they felt at the end to how they felt when they finished, "We Need to Talk About Kevin," and we all agreed that if Kevin had done what Zach had done it would have been on purpose with a mean intent and not a 'prank.'
I personally don't know if I ever really ended up liking any of the characters. I thought I liked Jim but then in the end I didn't. I thought Helen was too stuffy. Bob was a mess and a bit confusing and I feel like he was supposed to be the likeable character but he just wasn't for me. Susan was Susan and just blah as well.
I will definitely say that this book is not one to read if you want to read anything happy! But, I'm also not one who needs a happy ending but the whole book was just sad, sad, sad.
Have you read The Burgess Boys? What did you think?