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A Good Family by Erik Fassnacht
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A Good Family (edition 2015)

by Erik Fassnacht (Author)

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153952,249 (4)None
Member:CatieN
Title:A Good Family
Authors:Erik Fassnacht (Author)
Info:St. Martin's Press (2015), 432 pages
Collections:To read
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A Good Family: A Novel by Erik Fassnacht

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MFA candidate Franzen-izes his life into a semiautobiographical Epic Family Saga. Sexism and pretentious metaphors abound. I rolled my eyes a dozen times in the first chapter alone. Breasts are described as juggernauts. I just couldn't find a redeeming quality. This book isn't terrible in a vacuum but it has been done before, hundreds of times, and this incarnation says nothing new. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Oct 19, 2015 |
I was hooked on this family saga from page one. The author did a great job of unfolding the character of each "damaged" member of the estranged family. Each character was interesting but Barkley, the youngest son, provides the glue to bring the family to a satisfying reconciliation. The pain of a returned vet with PTSD is felt by the other son Charlie. The author brings depth to both parents. You find yourself rooting for one and angry with the other. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. ( )
  januthomas | May 24, 2015 |
A GOOD FAMILY by Eric Fassnacht
I almost quit reading – then I got to page 58 and I was hooked. The four members of this family are damaged, damaged by each other, damaged by their past, damaged by their own actions. The characters are finely drawn, believable and you get to know them intimately. The situations are timely and true. The writing is expressive. These are people and situations you want to know and care about deeply – even when they are being incredibly stupid in their actions. The tempo and tension increase as the book travels to its conclusion. There is sufficient humor to lighten what could be a depressing book.
I especially liked the sections about Barkley and his illustrious Catholic high school. The politics of schools are spot on (I’m a former teacher at a religious school). I rooted for Julie to detach from her stifling marriage and find (re-find?) herself and her dreams. The male writer got women right –Julie, Ginny and Margaret.
Book groups will a plethora of topics to discuss, including the endings for each family member.
5 of 5 stars ( )
  beckyhaase | May 16, 2015 |
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Book description
Meet the Brunsons of Downers Grove, Illinois. Henry is the once-magical father, whose fear of aging and endangered career lead him to the nightclubs of Chicago's Viagra Triangle. His wife Julie struggles to reclaim her life with a bottle of Zoloft and dreams of her youthful independence. Charlie, the golden-boy son, leaves the lucrative job his father arranged to serve in Afghanistan--and returns angry, damaged and uncertain of his place in the world. And Barkley, the bumbling youngest, is an aspiring writer of geeky science fiction stories now interviewing for his first job at a forbidding Catholic high school.

When Henry's health abruptly declines, he tries to return to the home and the life he had dominated. But his family, once totally dependent on his love, physical strength, and income, no longer needs him. As Julie, Charlie, and Barkley begin to find their ways forward, Henry tries desperately to bring them back together. In the end, each one will arrive at a new understanding of what family can--and cannot--be. Unusually assured and perceptive, combining narrative drive with humor, insight, and powerful family dynamics, A Good Family is a memorable debut by former high school teacher Erik Fassnacht.
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"Meet the Brunsons of Downers Grove, Illinois. Henry is the once-magical father, whose fear of aging and endangered career lead him to the nightclubs of Chicago's Viagra Triangle. His wife Julie struggles to reclaim her life with a bottle of Zoloft and dreams of her youthful independence. Charlie, the golden-boy son, leaves the lucrative job his father arranged to serve in Afghanistan--and returns angry, damaged and uncertain of his place in the world. And Barkley, the bumbling youngest, is an aspiring writer of geeky science fiction stories now interviewing for his first job at a forbidding Catholic high school. When Henry's health abruptly declines, he tries to return to the home and the life he had dominated. But his family, once totally dependent on his love, physical strength, and income, no longer needs him. As Julie, Charlie, and Barkley begin to find their ways forward, Henry tries desperately to bring them back together. In the end, each one will arrive at a new understanding of what family can--and cannot--be. Unusually assured and perceptive, combining narrative drive with humor, insight, and powerful family dynamics, A Good Family is a memorable debut by former high school teacher Erik Fassnacht"--… (more)

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