Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: December 5th 2014 by Tyrus Books
I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
There are a few different stories going on in this book all set within a luxury retirement community. There is Seth and Alison, a young couple, who take jobs at The Commons as a way to run away from the grief of losing their baby at birth. Ben is a retired veterinarian who lives in the community and struggles with the disappearance of his daughter years earlier and his divorce. There is also Lily who comes to stay with her Gran when she finds herself in trouble at home. She is sent to stay under the pretext that she is there to help her Gran get through the one year anniversary of her Grandfather's death. Finally there are the Rosko's, a Grandmother who is raising her grandson in the community even though children are not allowed to live there.
I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to think of this book at first. There are many characters and it took me a little while to sort who was who. After that it kind of started growing on me. It is uniquely written and uses a bit a humour to deal with difficult situations. Basically it is a story about the struggles of a bunch of different people within one community and how they deal with it.
I did have a few issues with the characters in that I didn't really like most of them. Perhaps this was because in difficult or challenging situations we don't necessarily get to see the pretty side of people. Maybe it was intentional. I didn't hate them, except Lily, but I didn't love them either which made it hard for me to route for them and care about the outcome.
In the end, it was a unique story about a group of different people in the same setting with unique sets of problems and what happens when they are all co-existing in the same community. The way Manaster gets inside these characters heads and is able to articulate these thoughts on the pages is what really won me over in the end. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it.
About the Author
Tracy Manaster is a graduate of Wesleyan University and The Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was the 2006 recipient of the National League of American Pen Women's Joanna Catherine Scott prize for novel excerpt. Her nonfiction has appeared in iAgora and Moxie magazines and as interactive exhibit texts for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and twin daughters.