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About the Author
Ali Bryan’s first novel, Roost, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of One Book Nova Scotia 2014. Her nonfiction has been shortlisted for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize and longlisted for the CBC Creative Non-Fiction Prize. She is a certified personal trainer and lives with her family in Calgary.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In a world of cozy mysteries, dystopian fantasies, and chick lit, this book stands out. It's not cuddly, sweet, or fantasy. Here's what it is- real life, with a unique voice, outlandish characters and humor that feels like a punch to the gut. If you hang on to this wild ride, like I did, you will end up feeling satisfied. I have read other reviews about this book, and many described the Figg family as dysfunctional. But they are not really misfits, it's more that they are in transition and stuck. The parents, June and Randy Figg are newly retired and have vague ideas about selling their house. But their three young adult children are all still living at home. The children seem to be unable to launch themselves. What gets them unstuck is the unexpected arrival of baby Jaxx. The first time June heard about him was when her son announced that he had received a text telling him that the contraptions had started. Now they must all consider what it means to be a family. The writing in this book is almost existential with unexpected words. We see what June sees, whether it's clumps of families wielding foil balloons, or her husband stretched out like a gingerbread man. At times, this writing style jarred me and made it harder for me to sink into the story and connect with the characters. At other times it added to the grit and despair of the story. I am glad I read this book. It's different, but I recommend it to you.
Ali Bryan has concocted a story that is wacky, zany, a bit off the wall and sometimes outrageous. Meet the Figgs, a family with more issues than there are pages in this book. June and Randy, parents who wish their children would grow up, move, out and move on, but maybe not too quickly. Tom, Vanessa and Derek, siblings whose personalities collide but who have each other’s backs when the need arises. Adoption, single parenting, Gay relationships, dementia, each subject finds a place in this story. I was completely conflicted about this book. It was laugh out loud funny in places, it was sad and wistful in other parts, completely believable and absolutely unbelievable. Many thanks to NetGalley and Freehand Books for a copy.
The Figgs is a fast-paced, sharp-tongued, lighthearted, but emotional story of the Figgs, husband Randy, wife June, and three grown children whom they wish would get out of the house so that they can enjoy their retirement. In the first few pages, this dream is squashed when the youngest, and supposed favorite child, Derek says he needs a ride to the hospital because he is going to be a father, to a son, with a girl he has never dated, exactly. This new addition to the family becomes a catalyst of sorts, allowing Randy to reveal a secret of his own, and for June to start thinking about her own parents. What ensues is a fantastic journey of revelation, emotion, and a genuine empathy for every family member. The part of the book description that caught my interest was the comparison to Little Miss Sunshine, but as I was reading this, I kept thinking that this seemed a lot like Bob's Burgers after the parents had retired and the children were still living at home. Some of the wit and banter between the kids, especially while Randy is trying to have a serious moment or while June is being offended, kids that seem rotten on the outside but really have hearts of gold, reminds me of the three children on Bob's Burgers. This idea makes me love "The Figgs" even more, and quite honestly, this is one of the best, funniest, novels I have read in a while. I cannot recommend this novel enough. In fact I keep telling everyone I know about it. "The Figgs" is definitely worth the effort. I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
In The Figgs, Ali Bryan tells the story of June Figg, who's three adult children still live at home, and who's husband is harboring a big secret, though it's not what you think. At the introduction, June seems fed up with her children, believing that if they would just move out already, she and her husband could downsize, thus allowing her to enjoy her retirement traveling. As with all families, the unexpected happens to derail her big plans and June must come to terms with her own beliefs and feelings about family. In the novel, Ali Bryan really dives in to the meaning of family, what it means to be a parent or a child, and how those bonds are altered based on natural or adoptive relationships. The tone is lighthearted, and there are some truly comedic moments throughout, as well as moments that will tug at your heartstrings. The Figgs are a family that everybody knows and or can relate to, and I loved that although there were conflicts, this was not a family with any major schisms or damage. This is a family full of love and support, even when they don't agree. Although I enjoyed the family as a whole and felt like I understood most of the characters individually, interestingly, I often struggled with the main protagonist, June. At times, something would happen that I think would warrant a certain emotional reaction from June, but the language was not there and so I often felt that June was non-reactive to some pretty heavy issues. It wasn't that she was unlikable, so much that I was just not connected to her for much of the novel and I wanted that connection. Additionally, there were a few scenes (and even a couple characters) that I think should have been left on the cutting room floor; they were either not necessary or just pulled the reader right out of the novel.