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Family Album by the dread pirate Penelope…
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Family Album (original 2009; edition 2010)

by the dread pirate Penelope Lively

CrewmatesArr! ReviewsPopulARRrityCrew sysMentions
4202325,247 (3.44)38
Tome:Family Album
Them scribblers:Penelope Lively
Pearls o' Wisdom:Penguin (2010), Paperback, 272 pages
Piles o' Booty:Yer cargo
How ye liked it:****

Work details

Family Album by the scurvy dog Penelope Lively (2009)

  1. Consequences by the scurvy dog Penelope Lively (2007)
  2. How It All Began by the scurvy dog Penelope Lively (2011)
  3. Noah's Compass by the scurvy dog Anne Tyler (2009)
  4. Love and Summer by the scurvy dog William Trevor (2009)
  5. The Widower's Tale by the scurvy dog Julia Glass (2010)
  1. Trespass by the scurvy dog Rose Tremain (2010)
  2. Lark and Termite by the scurvy dog Jayne Anne Phillips (2009)
  3. When Will There Be Good News? by the scurvy dog Kate Atkinson (2008)
  4. Started Early, Took My Dog by the scurvy dog Kate Atkinson (2010)
  5. Making It Up by the scurvy dog Penelope Lively (2005)


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» See also 38 mentions

This is a wonderful and thoughtful written family story. It's written in a kind of retrospective from each family member. The most interesting thing is that the offspring's point of view, how their childhood and the family life were, is very much related to each other whereas the adult's view is completely different rather like a misty-eyed one.
There is also a family secret, nobody is speaking about, but everybody knows about it. Only in the end the offspring is discussing this matter. There is a major solidarity among the offspring which helps them to be independent. A death in the family brings all members together and is also a restart. ( )
  Ameise1 | May 13, 2014 |
Astutely written.

This was an interesting study of a large family in rural England, living in an old, crumbling mansion. I loved the earth mother, Alison, devoted to her children, whose only aim in life was to be matriarch to a large family.
Her husband, Charles, was a somewhat cliched version of the distant father, surrounded by constant noise and hubbub, yet almost unaware of it. Somewhat ironically, he was an anthropologist, studying the interactions of distant societies and how they raised their children.

The six children also had the support of Ingrid, an au pair, who had been with the family for years and still remained, even after all the children had left.
This is a largely character driven novel, with the old house, Allersmead, looming large in the background.
Each person has a chapter of their own, providing back-story and further details, but do we really need quite so much information? As an audiobook, it was a bit confusing and I would probably have awarded an extra star if I'd been reading it rather than listening, simply because of the complexity of the family relationships.

As the, now adult, children come home to visit Ingrid and their parents, we start to see the flaws in the family dynamics. In addition, we are drawn forward by the knowledge that there is a family secret to eventually be revealed.
Not a gripping story but entertaining for the astute observations that Ms Lively provides. We are the fly on the wall as these nine people interact through the years. ( )
  DubaiReader | Jan 17, 2014 |
Predictable family drama. ( )
  Elpaca | Dec 1, 2013 |
I enjoyed the writing very much- but unfortunately these children/characters often come off as tiresome and whiny. Maybe as I just finished reading about a WWII POW I'm being a bit harsh. I look forward to reading her other books. She has good insight and a way of sketching out different personalities. ( )
  ErikaHope | Sep 9, 2013 |
To put this review in context, I read a galley. It was free. I liked the book quite a bit - enough to keep the galley, but not enough to spend more than $20 on a new book. Take what you will from that. ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
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All Alison ever wanted was a blissful childhood for her six children, with summers at the beach and birthday parties on the lawn at their family home. Together with Ingrid, the family au pair, she has worked hard to create a real old-fashioned family life. But beneath its postcard sheen, the picture is clouded by a distant father, Alison's inexplicable emotional outbursts, and long-repressed secrets that no one dares mention.… (more!)

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