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Our love could light the world by Anne Leigh…
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Our love could light the world

by Anne Leigh Parrish

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Our Love Could Light the World by Anne Leigh Parrish

The Dugans are a family of 7 trying to make ends meet once again in a new rental home. The yard doesn’t get mowed, the house is a mess, and the five children run free and horrify their neighbors. One day Lavinia decides she cannot live like that anymore and leaves her husband. All their lives change at that moment as the family has to shift in new ways.

The story was very slow and felt choppy and confusing. There were times that within a few sentences you had completely changed location without any reference to it at all. The story never really followed a sequence of events or time. The characters felt two dimensional and just like names on a piece of paper. I never felt any depth to any of them or any connection. I wanted more depth and feelings from them. I felt like they were all cold unfeeling people who just walked around looking for somebody to talk to or take care of them. Lavinia left her husband for Chip even though she never loved him; she just wanted his money. Potter apparently never not over Lavinia but other than a few vague references to the fact that he was still in love with her, you would never know. Random people would enter the book and then soon they would just fall off the face of the earth, never to be referenced again. I didn’t feel like there was any emotion to this story.

I felt as though this story was written by a kid for a high school project rather than an actual published book. The only reason I finished it was because I knew I would be writing a review and needed to have all the facts and story line before I did so, and I really hoped it would pick up at the end, it did not.

*I received a free copy of this book by StoryCartel in exchange for my honest review.
( )
  alyssaross | Nov 8, 2016 |
I usually avoid short stories, but this book proved to be a treasure. The inter-connected stories of the Dugan family are a device reminiscent of the noteworthy Olive Kitteridge that works very well to give readers an opportunity to become familiar with this functionally dysfunctional family. The characters are fully known in vignettes that feature them both individually and as a whole. ( )
  pdebolt | Apr 19, 2015 |
I loved this book of short stories about people who are living a hardscrabble life, trying, and not always succeeding at being parents, siblings, and friends. ( )
  bibliolisa | Jun 19, 2014 |
I have always loved the idea of a set of connecting stories with an overlying theme essentially showcasing snapshots of the same area or family or event. Anne Leigh Parrish's collection of stories, Our Love Could Light the World, is one of those books. But, just like the other I've read in recent years (Olive Kitteredge, anyone?), this one fell a bit flat for me for reasons I will explain shortly.

Read the rest of this review on The Lost Entwife on Feb. 13, 2014. ( )
  TheLostEntwife | Feb 13, 2014 |
Our Love Could Light the World follows one small-town family named the Dugans for over a decade through divorce, remarriage, young love, and house fires. Like Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge, this new book by Anne Leigh Parrish is that rare species of fiction—a novel in stories. Each episode in the family saga is structured as a stand-alone story, while also fitting beautifully into a full-length narrative.
Such works are uncommon, no doubt, because they’re so hard to pull off, a bit like those three-dimensional jigsaw puzzles. Full disclosure: I’ve never done such a puzzle and am convinced they’re impossible, although I realize they have their devotees. In short, I was bowled over by the sheer writerly skill on display in the construction of this extended tale of a couple who go their separate ways despite having borne 5 children together.
I was surprised that the title story came first in the book. Most authors would, I think, let the reader wonder a bit longer how the title would tie into the plot. Such an approach builds anticipation, but that’s too simplistic for Parrish. Her title story presents the good-sized cast of characters but offers few hints of where their lives will go from here. Rather, the Dugans struck me as the sort of people to stay in their ruts forever no matter how uncomfortable the mud might be. But it turns out that placing the title story up front informs the book in a more meaningful way.
An elderly man who has strayed from a local nursing home tells the Dugan children, among other random remarks, “Our love could light the world.” It’s a pronouncement that might be profound but goes largely ignored as the man is transported back to his care facility. Still, his words take on a broad significance as we read on to see the Dugans neglect one another and refuse to express their tender feelings amid the trials of everyday exasperation. Truly, the love of these brothers and sisters, husband and wife, could light their lives if it were not persistently shoveled under the bushel of fear and delusion.
This description may sound dire, but the book’s tone is light and engaging. Yes, the characters disappoint one another. They disappoint themselves and fail at many things, but their situation is not portrayed as tragic. They carry on. The language is often humorous. Such descriptions as, “She was built like a soup can,” or “He listed to one side, like a dinghy taking on water,” leaven our pity for the Dugans into something more like respect for the human condition.
All of this makes for an excellent read, both diverting and thought-provoking. One comes away with the sense that our love really could light the whole world, if only a few of us would stop covering our eyes.

( )
  AnesaMiller | Jan 17, 2014 |
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