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The Dutch House

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett

Started 12.28.19 • Finished 01.09.20 / 5 stars

Because I was fifteen and generally an idiot, I thought that the feeling of home I was experiencing had to do with the car and where it was parked, instead of attributing it wholly and gratefully to my sister.

This was the January pick for my neighborhood book club. I came into it with zero expectations, other than the knowledge that Ann Patchett's previous book, Commonwealth, was popular a few years ago when it came out. Turns out it was the October 2019 pick for the Today book club, #readwithJenna. As of this writing, it's also been on the New York Times bestseller list for 15 weeks.

And so I made the decision to change. It might seem like change was impossible, given my nature and my age, but I understood exactly what there was to lose. It was chemistry all over again. The point wasn’t whether or not I liked it. The point was it had to be done.

I'd call this novel sweeping, as it spans several decades of time, doing a fair amount of jumping around as stories from the past inform present events. I absolutely loved the character development and felt like I could picture every character and what it might be like to have a conversation with each of them. For me, it took a little while to get at Patchett's direction for the book, but the writing was so compelling, I didn't mind. It is certainly a beautiful book about home and family and finding your place. Highly recommend.

“You have to serve those who need to be served, not just the ones who make you feel good about yourself. Andrea’s my penance for all the mistakes.”
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