Skip to main content

Short Review (A-Z Wednesday): The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews

A-Z Wednesday

This is a meme hosted at Reading at the Beach. To join, here's all you have to do: Go to your stack of books and find one whose title starts with the letter of the week. Post:
    1~ a photo of the book

    2~ title and synopsis
    3~ link(amazon, barnes and noble etc.)

The letter for this week is F. I chose The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews, which I read in November 2009. This was my first book by the author, and is quite a quick read at just 274 pages. I gave it 5 stars. This book is one of my favorites from last year. Here's a synopsis, from the back of the book:

A novel that is at once hilarious and heartrending, The Flying Troutmans is about a family on the verge of spinning off its axles and a road trip that just may keep it together.

When Hattie receives an SOS call in Paris from her eleven-year-old niece, the decision to return to Canada is slam-dunk easy, because she’s just been dumped by her boyfriend. But when she arrives back, her sister, Min, is on her way to the psychiatric ward, and Hattie is left to take care of Min’s children, Thebes and Logan. When she realizes that this may become a permanent arrangement, Hattie hatches a plan. Without much more than an old address to go on, the three of them set off on a wild road trip to find the kids’ long-lost father.


Here's the review I posted on Goodreads:

Not the kind of book I would expect to be a 5-star read. But then, there's not any flaw in it, and its beauty lies in its simplicity.

Here's a group of freaks from page one to last page, come together to create a riotous comedy! I could so easily relate to every character in this book, because they seemed so dysfunctional that they appeared as normal as any of us. None of the characters are glossed over or passed around as "heroes" or as having mainly normal characteristics.

There's Thebie, who just keeps talking on and on, jumping from topic to topic rapidly. She is such a darling, and reminds me of any other 11-year old girl, who has an opinion on everything, reads a lot of things and insists on sharing that knowledge with people around her. She is a girl who immediately bonds with just about anyone.

Then there's Logan, the 15-year old boy who is always in the "wrong" crowd and then gets suspended from school. He doesn't want to be with his sister and aunt, and yet he wants to, as well. He wants to be like any normal teenager, with normal problems, with girlfriends, with lots of friends, and so on.

Then there's Hattie, who doesn't want to look after these kids, and all along convinces herself to give the kids to their father, but along the journey, she falls in love with the kids, and it's so touching when you notice that happening.

If I had to choose my favorite character here, I would say Thebie, but I definitely enjoyed the other two characters as well.

I truly enjoyed the ride the three undertook and all their problems and arguments and conversations. I totally recommend this book.


 To see what "F" books other bloggers chose, visit this link.

Comments

Nise' said…
Sounds like this would make a good movies as well.
Oh, I love books about crazy, dysfunctional families...LOL.

Here's mine:

http://laurel-rainsnowsaccidentallife.blogspot.com/2010/03/z-wednesday.html
Tales of Whimsy said…
Whoa. This sounds amazing. Excellent choice. Not my normal read but I'm anxious to see what you think. I love the cover.
Sherrie said…
Hi!
Sounds like a great book. I'll have to check into this one. Have a great day!

Sherrie
Just Books
jlshall said…
This one sounds really good. I'll have to give it a closer look. Thanks for the review.
Irene said…
Sounds great.
Yvonne said…
This sounds really good.
CeeCee said…
Sounds really good. Thanks for sharing!

Popular posts from this blog

Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri (Short Fiction Review)

I first read Jhumpa Lahiri years ago, when her Interpreter of Maladies was making a huge buzz. At the time, I didn't catch any of the buzz, but for some reason, when I saw the book on the shelf at the store I was browsing in, I felt it just might be a decent read. Funnily, I read the entire short story collection without complaining about it, but for some reason, I cannot read any collection anymore without agonizing over its disjoint nature.

I did enjoy Interpreter of Maladies, but I did get bothered by the thread of loneliness and infidelity and distrust that laced through the stories. For that reason, I have been reluctant to read Unaccustomed Earth. However, when I came across Hell-Heaven at the NewYorker - a free short story from her book, I decided to go ahead and read it. I can't resist the pull of stories set in India or featuring Indian characters, and it is that same aspect that hooked me throughout this story.


In Hell-Heaven, the narrator contemplates the relations…

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.
Bernadette Fox has a reputation. While her husband and her daughter Bee love her, there's barely anyone else who share the sentiment. Her neighbor Audrey loves to gossip mean things about her with her close friend, Soo-Lin. The other parents of kids at Bee's school look down on Bernadette because she doesn't involve herself in school affairs. Bernadette herself goes out of her way to avoid company.

And then one day, Bee comes home with an excellent report card and asks for her reward - a family trip to Antarctica. The very plan throws Bernadette into a panic but she has no other option. She hires a virtual assistant, based out of India to take care of all her demands, including getting prescriptions at her local pharmacy, doing her online shopping and taking care of some of the logistics of her trip. (It is ridiculous! Bern…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Short Fiction review)

With the Hunger Games hype that engulfed us last week, it was hard to avoid all the discussion of similar works that existed. Of the many titles that I came across, two stood out particularly - a short story called The Lottery and a Japanese novel (and movie) called Battle Royale (which I'm reading right now and just cannot put down). The novel will be fodder for another post, so for now, I just want to rave about the awesomeness that was The Lottery.

In contemporary America, villagers across the country are gathering on the 27th of June (and some a day earlier) for an annual event called the Lottery. Children, women, men, all come to the main square of their village or town, where the lottery master keeps a black box full of paper chips. One of these chips is marked has a special mark on it to identify the winner (the person who draws that chip). Not everyone draws however, but only the head of the family. Husbands are viewed as the head of their families/households, and if the …