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Then, in one swift stroke, the family's joy is shattered. A town local, long embittered by his lot in life, whom the ...
Then, in one swift stroke, the family's joy is shattered. A town local, long embittered by his lot in life, whom the Campbells help in his dire time of need, becomes mired in his own bitterness, greed, and jealousy. He inflicts irrevocable harm upon them.
Struck hard by this tragedy none of them can fathom, each of the Campbells reacts in an uncharacteristic way. Their closeness is extinguished. Their future bleak.
Except for that one ray of hope. The middle child, Annie, the one with the least confidence, has patience. Her endurance and willingness to provide for others makes all the difference. Her account of what happened defines the power of perseverance.
This story will envelop you with its rapture, its uncertainty, its secrets, and escort you through its darkness. In bold defiance of the odds, the Campbells can find light once again. This is a sweeping tale that is irresistible and hard to put down.
In her Goodreads review, author Angella Graff said, "(this book) was amazing...and could easily become this generation's Little Women."
Avid readers have commented that "(Ms. Grey's) characters are so alive, I can see them," "I couldn't put it down," and "I was so absorbed, I almost missed my train stop."
Posted March 13, 2013
"Cry Before Supper" by Julia Rose Grey was a real treat. The author tells the story of Annie Campbell, beginning in 1961 when the family lives in a suburb in Philadelphia: 5 children, a grandmother and a dog. The story is told in Annie's youthful and beautiful voice, at times naive, at times, melancholic and later stronger and assertive. We learn about the family background, the sibling rivalries, neighbourhood gossip, the morals and ideas of the times and the special blend of family values that the Campbells live by and how these evolve as the story moves into the 70s and the children make their own way.
This is written like a memoir, so real and moving that I often had to remind myself that this is a work of fiction.
The youngest child, Michael, suffers from the neuro-genetic disorder Angelman Syndrome, but forms a special bond with the grandmother who helps him speak and work in the greenhouse with her. Michael and his Syndrome are a big part of the story and Annie's life as she sees her elder siblings disappear to lead their own lives.
A big part of the story is told in letters to and by Annie to her sister at Harvard while Annie stays behind to look after Michael and her ill mother.
"They that laugh in the morning may weep before night" is a Scottish saying quoted in the book as is the song "Sing before breakfast". The title Cry Before Supper in that context brings in a wonderful resolve to have spent the tears before moving on to a happier supper.
As sentimental as the tome of this novel can be at times, it is moving and uplifting in many ways. I loved the honest and descriptions and the integrity of Annie, her love for the family and the strong bond that seems to exist between the siblings despite all of their differences.
It rings very true of the idea that I have of the 1960s in suburban America, much of it sounded all too familiar to my own upbringing in Europe in the 1970s.
This book is a truly wonderful read, it leaves you happy and elevated and with a craving for the lovely characters of the Campbell family.