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The Year We Left Home
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The Year We Left Home

3.2 70
by Jean Thompson

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A New York Times bestseller in hardcover, The Year We Left Home is National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson’s mesmerizing, decades-spanning saga of one ordinary American family that captures the turbulent history of the country at large.

Named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a People magazine “Pick of the

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The Year We Left Home 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jean Thompson's "The Year We Left Home" is about a mid-western family that delivers on every level. She capture's the essence of living in middle America and touches a host of topics that everyday people can in counter during their lives: love, joy, tragedy, war, hate, etc. And all the while focusing on the importance of family and the never-ending belief that every day brings a new beginning. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more of this author's work.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
Ah, the Midwest. One has notions of the Midwest that the characters in this novel try to disabuse one of all the way through, but in fact, it's pretty much the way I imagined it: overgrown family farms gone to ruin; empty, neglected storefronts on main streets; young kids dying to get out. This novel follows an extended family through the 1960s to the new millenium, and isn't lavish with descriptions of beauty or of success or even of happiness. But the author does treat us to moments of transcendence: Norman and Martha dancing at a wedding, and Martha again, dying, stopping her niece from leaving her side. One gets the sense, as the characters age, that this is pretty much the way it is, for all of us, wherever we are: tension, struggle, outcome. Some outcomes are good; some not so good. Moments of revelation and consequence are scattered through the novel like a hilly drive. One feels a ratcheting of tension and a concentration in focus, requiring a held breath to get us through. A headstrong young girl, determined to pain her parents, drives carelessly away from a funeral; a graduate student teaching a course invites a student to his house for dinner; a wife attends an AA meeting and brings another co-dependent home; a trip to Italy turns surreal. After, we turn our eyes and our thoughts to another character's life to catch our breath. These hills and valleys seem familiar, and when the book winds down we feel we could have been looking through the album of our lives: "Have you heard from so-and-so lately? I heard (s)he'd..."
piesmom More than 1 year ago
If you like novels that are richer in characters than action, you will like this novel. I can see that some people would find it boring but I found it refreshing to read a story that is utterly believable. This novel examines the lives of several family members in a way that helps us understand them better than they most likely understand each other. We get glimpses of their lives and insights that are familiar yet thought provoking. It reminds you that even though you know people, there is more you don't know about them.
SusieQAZ More than 1 year ago
This reads like a collection of short stories with recurring characters, and the somewhat loose plot is tied together in the last story. That is not a criticism, however. Each of the stories is focused and compelling. I found the book quite satisfying.
read55 More than 1 year ago
Lots of times I'll purchase a book based on the reviews. I have to say, this one is totally not even worth it. Several times I wanted to quit reading, but thought I better finish. It totally was disjointed; living in the midwest for 50 years, I have to say this is NOT a'typical' midwestern family! Trust me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I read the description for this book, I thought that it would be a book that would keep my interest and be a good read. Boy was I wrong. Usually most books have turning books, or events that keep you on the edge of your seat anticipating the next page...this never happened to me while reading this book. Reading this book right after reading "The Help" was the wrong thing to do, because I had high expectations.
Ravenswood_Reviews More than 1 year ago
JEAN THOMPSON'S "THE YEAR WE LEFT HOME" (REVIEW) This book was wonderful. It's usually hard to find the story of someone else's life interesting when it's fictitiously written but Jean Thompson brought this family to life so vividly you felt a part of it. Each chapter is written about the different siblings and using their point of views on matters of life, death, marriage, family, and children. I found myself drifting through this book effortlessly and easily put faces to each character so that it played out almost as if I were watching a movie. You feel the good and the bad, live their lives with them and find yourself cheering when they make the right choices and wishing you could offer them advice when they don't. This is definitely a book anyone would enjoy. There is so much in it that all of us can relate to and the story is one that simply draws you in. I will be on the look-out for more of her writing! -Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book based on the fact that it was on the New York Times Bestseller list and the it sounded interesting but I was disappointed. It certainly wasn't the book that you couldn't put down and I would not recommend it to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very well written exploration of a Norwegian American family in a rural farming town. The children become adults and head out into the world with very different journeys. But in the end, you can't escape who you are or your family & heritage...
SallyBooker More than 1 year ago
Very, very boring and extremely mundane. No idea why other reviews could have found this book interesting. I struggled to read the first half, then gave up (which I never do).
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
While this book had the ability to pull at my heartstrings at times, on the whole it was fairly mundane. I had to keep coming back to this book because many of the chapters literally put me to sleep, even though the writing was good, the subject was just a snooze at times. The progression of the family over the span of 30+ years was very well done, however it also made me feel disconnected every time the narration switched to a different family member. There were times when I had to jump back and read the previous parts of the story and spent way too much time trying to figure out what had happened since the last time they were the narrator. People that have family history like this would probably have enjoyed the story much more, at times it felt like I just didn't get it. Reviewed by Gabi for Book Sake.
mary_kvn More than 1 year ago
I'm not a fan of short stories, but when they're linked in this way, they are as good as a novel. Through this episodic approach, Thompson gives us a solid look at one American family's drift through three decades.
bibliolover More than 1 year ago
Ill-defined and undeveloped characters make this plotless story tough to finish. I did it, thinking this is a published book, surely something worthwhile in this so called "Family saga" will happen. It does not. Recommendation: Read almost anything else!
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an-older_lady More than 1 year ago
Probably very true to the age of the particpates although it was not what my life was like.
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