I decided a long time ago that parties and drinking and crowds and loud music aren’t really my thing. That’s why my Saturday nights usually involve crafting on the couch watching Midsomer Murders. That and the Emma Makes craft empire doesn’t run itself…
However, this Thursday night I’m going out – to An Evening with Emily Perkins. It’s being run by The Listener Book Club (this month’s read is The Forrests by Emily Perkins); I read the book while I was flat on my back earlier this month and loved it. There’s still tickets left (they’re only $15 and you get wine and food) and there might not be door sales. You can also buy the book on the night if you decide it sounds good.
Here’s what I thought (it’s my review from my Good Reads page).
“Another reviewer (one star) on Good Reads has written, “You keep waiting for something to happen, but as with most families, nothing does” and that’s precisely what makes The Forrests so wonderful.
If The Forrests were a movie, it would be European, not American: the beauty and wonder of this novel isn’t in finding a problem to overcome it’s in the overcoming of ourselves. This is about the extraordinary in the ordinary – genuine, normal people living their lives and encountering each other and themselves.
At the start of the novel the Forrests are full of potential – their family is wonderful, they laugh and play together and have nostalgic memories of sunny days. With their blonde hair and American accents, to outsiders they probably seem like the epitome of perfection.
But as they grow and form their own families they become like everyone else – grinding through the days, questioning of the decisions they’ve made, nostalgic and ever-returning to what could have been, touched with sadness and not special any more.
This is the first book by Emily Perkins that I’ve read and I was lucky enough to spend two straight days with The Forrests as I lay flat-out on by back with an injury. Her writing is wonderful; descriptive and rich with the kind of sentences and observations that occasionally had me stopping mid-sentence to admire the words in delight and wonder.
Highly recommended but not to all – I think if you enjoy contemporary and New Zealand Fiction you’ll like The Forrests. More so if you enjoyed Rain (Kirsty Gunn) Owls Do Cry (Janet Frame) and A Boy and his Uncle (Anne Kennedy).”