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Perfectly Good Family(MP3)(Unabr.) MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (Feb. 28 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142336080X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423360803
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 18.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,174,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 31 reviews
43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Siblings, Siblings, oh, those Siblings Aug. 7 2007
By Jan Genovese - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If anyone has ever captured the total ambivalence most siblings (who are honest) experience, it's Lionel Shriver. I did not find this book to be nearly as compelling as her astounding masterpiece "We Need To Talk About Kevin" but it has its great paragraphs, certainly. A very good friend of mine (going through adult sibling madness, as I did--I no longer speak to my two siblings) read this book after I did, and we both agreed: WE DO NOT LIKE THESE PEOPLE. We don't like them at all. This caused me to put the book down at one point in an irritated way and debate whether to continue. Almost exactly at that point, however, it got pretty absorbing--Shriver picked up her always amazing thread and I must say, the ending truly stunned me. Be warned: these people as individuals are not endearing and their various behaviors border on repugnant sometimes, but Shriver always constructs completely believeable people, and in this context, she has not failed. I'm still so struck by "Kevin" that maybe I could not do justice to this book, but it does have its own merit. I mean, when three adult siblings fight over their dead parents' house, it can't be boring.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A perfectly good (albeit imperfect) novel Feb. 16 2011
By TChris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When so many modern novels are about dysfunctional families, why read another one? There are several reasons. Lionel Shriver brings a unique wit to her storytelling. Her tale is fresh and funny. She gives her characters depth but isn't oppressive about it.

The "perfectly good family" in question consists of Corlis, Truman, and Mordecai McCrea, three siblings who must come together to deal with their inheritance after their mother's death. The will leaves each child a quarter of the estate (consisting mostly of the family home) with the remaining quarter going to the ACLU. Truman (the youngest, who has always lived with his parents, even after his marriage) feels entitled to keep the house for himself. Mordecai (the oldest, pushing 40, with three broken marriages and a drinking problem) wants to sell the place and use his share of the money to revive his cash-poor business. Corlis (who was invited to leave her flat in London after her two male roommates discovered that she was splitting her affections between them) has decided to stay in North Carolina but finds herself in the middle of the dispute between the brothers, neither of whom can buy out the other's interest without her help.

A Perfectly Good Family was first published in Great Britain in 1996. Shriver's sixth novel mixes comedy with drama, but there isn't much dramatic tension in the conflict between the children. The drama increases toward the end, as the deadline for selling or refinancing draws near (the ACLU wants its money and isn't inclined to wait any longer), but the mood remains lighthearted. The reader has little reason to invest in either brother; in their separate ways, they are equally childish. Corlis, who provides the novel's point of view (and who seems to be something of a stand-in for Lionel Shriver, who grew up with two brothers in Raleigh, where the novel is set), is a more sympathetic character, although so often adrift and indecisive that it is difficult to cheer for her success. The novel ends on an up note that quickly follows a tragedy, but none of that created an emotional impact that would lead me to recommend the novel as a satisfying family drama.

As light comedy, however, the novel succeeds. The characters are amusing and in broad terms are recognizable as members of typical American families. Shriver's pithy observations about their roles in the family and in life make the novel worthwhile. For instance, Truman looks forward to finishing a product (shampoo or whatever) so he can buy a new one, leading Corlis to wonder "if this delight in dispatching products in order to re-acquire them wasn't a functional definition of the middle class." It's that kind of gleefully irreverent writing that gives the novel its edge, and thus its value. A Perfectly Good Family didn't generate any belly laughs while I was reading it, but it produced enough knowing nods and soft chuckles to make me recommend it as a better-than-average comedic exploration of a family dynamic.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Lionel is a modern great June 22 2008
By E. Begody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lionel Shriver's writing has made me not want to waste my time reading mediocre literature. I don't think she wants me to spend less on books, but she's definitely to blame for my snobbery.

Keep it up, Lionel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Another Gem from Shriver Dec 18 2012
By Karen Lea Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lionel Shriver has been a huge discovery for me. She is a ridiculously gifted writer and I look forward to working my way through her novels.

Shriver's "A Perfectly Good Family" was as near to a perfect novel as I have ever read. It is the story of three very different siblings who inherit their family home, a very grand southern colonial manor. A bulk of the story takes place in the home and it is very dialogue heavy. As I was reading, I kept thinking that it would really translate well into a stage play. Shriver does a fantastic job at writing tension and cutting remarks.

The novel is told from the point of view of the middle child and only girl, Corlis. Corlis spends much of the book analyzing her two brothers and dead parents, yet is very unaware of her own culpability in the family dynamic. There was one big thing about Corlis' narrative that really rang true for me, the way she described her parents. She lashed out at them and picked on their short comings. I often find myself doing the same thing regarding my mom, who passed away three years ago. I think it comes from a place of hurt and frustrating, but it can come across as callous. I'm not sure if I would have understood this part of Corlis, if I had not had personal experience.

My only negative was how the book ended. I felt like it was wrapped up a bit too neatly, although I am not sure of a better way to have ended it.
12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Another great book from one of my favorite authors Sept. 26 2007
By Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I kept wondering if Shriver could resolve the book's central conflict by the end of the story without copping out. She did. It was funny, clever, made perfect sense and I didn't see it coming. I liked this novel a lot.

If you're just starting out with Lionel Shriver, I'd recommend Kevin first, this one next and then Birthday.

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