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The Condition by Jennifer Haigh
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The Condition (edition 2008)

by Jennifer Haigh

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8645610,324 (3.71)78
Member:srauske
Title:The Condition
Authors:Jennifer Haigh
Info:HarperLuxe (2008), Paperback, 640 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Turner's syndrome, family relationships

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The Condition by Jennifer Haigh

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I expected the title to refer to Turner's Syndrome which is the condition suffered by one of the characters and which is ostensibly the issue which drives the book. But I really felt like it more aptly applied to the condition of the family, which defines "dysfunctional." There is not a character in this book that is not battling their own issue, and battling it independently of the rest of the family. After an opening part which shows the family on the cusp of falling apart, the book skips forward 20 years but then looks back on those 20 years from the point of view of each of the five family members. I found it difficult to really connect with any of the characters because of this and because of the constantly jumping time frame. There is a lot to discuss in this book for book clubs. I was happy to see the Haigh showed growth in each of the characters and didn't try to wrap up all of the endings in a happily ever after fashion. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
I expected the title to refer to Turner's Syndrome which is the condition suffered by one of the characters and which is ostensibly the issue which drives the book. But I really felt like it more aptly applied to the condition of the family, which defines "dysfunctional." There is not a character in this book that is not battling their own issue, and battling it independently of the rest of the family. After an opening part which shows the family on the cusp of falling apart, the book skips forward 20 years but then looks back on those 20 years from the point of view of each of the five family members. I found it difficult to really connect with any of the characters because of this and because of the constantly jumping time frame. There is a lot to discuss in this book for book clubs. I was happy to see the Haigh showed growth in each of the characters and didn't try to wrap up all of the endings in a happily ever after fashion. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
I was a bit disappointed by this novel, having thoroughly enjoyed Haigh's Mrs. Kimble. I just couldn't empathize with the characters and things seemed to drag on. Redeemed itself a bit at the end, but still, not as good or as captivating as I'd hoped. ( )
  justacatandabook | Mar 9, 2016 |
The dynamics of a dysfunctional family are explored - despite the fact that the daughter who has Turner's Syndrome is the identified patient, every member of the family is in major turmoil - seen from the viewpoint of several family members, the story line progresses and secrets and crises become exposed.

I found the story to be mostly credible, and learned a lot about Turner's Syndrome -I did find that some of the daughter's issues later in the book were not realistic and that lowered my rating. In all, this was a quick, engaging book worth reading, but not one with lasting impact. ( )
  njinthesun | Nov 8, 2015 |
I read The Condition in short spurts on the cardio machine, which is a difficult way to read a novel, but Ms. Haigh's story pulled me so that I almost forgot I was working out.

It's the story of a family that already has cracks beneath the surface before Gwen's condition (Turner's syndrome) determines the course of their lives. In a true dysfunctional manner, everyone develops behavior in response to her condition, each reacting off the others' behavior.

The story follows each of the children into adulthood and circles back to follow the parents, Frank and Paulette.

I felt the struggle of each person to find her/his place in the world and to come to terms with the wounds and misunderstandings of the past.

Ms. Haigh's prose is fluid, and captivating in every way and her characters come to life so that I closed the book feeling as if they were part of my family. ( )
  CathrynGrant | Nov 20, 2014 |
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Epigraph
In nature, all is useful, all is beautiful.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Art"

To regret deeply is to live afresh.
--Henry David Thoreau, Journals
Dedication
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Summer comes late to Massachusetts.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Tells the story of the McKotches, a proper New England family that comes apart during one fateful summer, when the family notices something different in their daughter only to find she has Turner's syndrome.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060755784, Hardcover)

In the summer of 1976, during their annual retreat on Cape Cod, the McKotch family came apart. Now, twenty years after daughter Gwen was diagnosed with Turner's syndrome—a rare genetic condition that keeps her trapped forever in the body of a child—eminent scientist Frank McKotch is divorced from his pedigreed wife, Paulette. Eldest son Billy, a successful cardiologist, lives a life built on secrets and compromise. His brother Scott awakened from a pot-addled adolescence to a soul-killing job and a regrettable marriage. And Gwen—bright and accomplished but hermetic and emotionally aloof—spurns all social interaction until, well into her thirties, she falls in love for the first time. With compassion and almost painful astuteness, The Condition explores the power of family mythologies—the self-delusions, denials, and inescapable truths that forever bind fathers and mothers and siblings.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:54 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Unaware of the long-standing grievances harbored by their divorced parents, three adult siblings embark on a tumultuous summer when the oldest, a successful Manhattan doctor, investigates his sister's chromosomal disorder against his mother's wishes.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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