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Extraordinary People [Paperback]

Pa Gervais


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial US; Reprint edition (Dec 8 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060923709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060923709
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A series of wry, profoundly sad stories are loosely woven into a first novel chronicling the emotional chasms that yawn between blood relatives. The title notwithstanding, the Beelers of North Tewksbury, Mass., are extraordinarily ordinary people, even in their tragedies. The family linchpin is wife and mother Meg, a beautiful, restless, shallow woman dissatisfied with her mundane life. Meg drinks too much, resulting in outrageous behavior that prompts her stolid husband Gerald to withdraw from his own family while lavishing love and attention on his brother's children. The Beelers' theatrical older son Cliff eggs Meg on, dubbing her "Baronness" and "Aretha," and screaming with laughter at her antics. Sam, the youngest son and the poker-faced narrator who longs to be adopted by a picture-book family, is both appalled by Meg and grudgingly admiring of her, angry at his father's defection and baffled by Cliff. As years pass, his secret wish to be an orphan seems likely to be granted, as the Beelers are whittled down by cancer, AIDS and, in Meg's case, a dementia that causes the reader to laugh and wince. Meanwhile, having escaped to Italy, Sam flatly vetoes his lover Fred's bid to adopt a child. This sometimes self-consciously metaphorical debut has sufficient grace, sharp-eyed observation and humor to balance its pain.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

An acceptable first novel, but with flaws, this is the classic story of the dysfunctional family: attractive, alcoholic mother; disengaged father; and two brothers (Cliff and Sam), close in age but nothing else. The author shows skill in presenting both brothers as gay adults, when only Cliff is so depicted as a teenager. Through Sam, we share some painful experience of the adult acceptance process for family and self, and of illness (including AIDS) and death. Despite some stereotyping and inconsistency with chronology--and the fact that this is not always pleasant reading (the mother is chillingly demented by age 70)--the novel is worthwhile for its perceptive descriptions and its portrayal of characters, some of whom are homosexual. For libraries needing realistic fiction including gays without graphic sexual scenes.
- Rebecca S. Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ., Highland Heights
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this wonderful book; make the effort to find it. Oct. 11 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I can't imagine the ineptitude of the reviewer from Kirkus Reviews, who so widely missed the mark on this book. This book is a novel made up of inter-connected short stories. The ultimate effect is very powerful and moving.
Please pay attention to the three regular readers who have taken the time to review a book several years old--if you listen to the three of us, you will have a terrific time with a fine, moving, and human story.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Writing that makes you think! Feb. 6 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This has to be one of the best books I have ever read. The characters are people you really want to know. You want to know more about them. That is the only drawback, that i didn't get to know the characters more. I believe the characters were well defined for the book and well written. The words and idea's well conveyed and the ending makes you feel good about being yourself. This book teaches you that despite bad things going on, you are still a good person inside and that you deserve to be loved. I would recommend this to all people.
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