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We Were the Mulvaneys Paperback – Jul 2 2001

423 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Harpercollins Pb (July 2 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184115699X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841156996
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (423 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,390,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J.E.L. on March 18 2008
Format: Paperback
Some things never cease to amaze me. How books like this ever get published is one of them. Had it not been written by such a famous author, I doubt it would have made it past an agent. The writing is weak and bland, the storyline heavily disguised in a mess of mind-numbing filler that serves no purpose whatsoever.

For example: We're given directions on how to get to the family farm from Route 58, first the shortcut then the long route (or maybe the other way around), a blow by blow account of every street, every turn - take another right and a left and a right at the square... This went on for THREE pages.
She spent two pages on clocks, all the clocks that were "busily tick-tick-ticking" through the house, describing each one ad nauseam, from the "Chautauqua Valley steeple pendulum clock of the 1850s" to the "small cream-colored ceramic mantel clock with garlands of tiny painted rosebuds, golden pendulum and delicate hands, a chime like the sweetest of birdcalls."

If this review is putting you to sleep, try reading 400 pages of the stuff. To make matters worse, the story is written in first person, a 30-year-old male, supposedly, who often sounds more like the stereotypical doddering old lady. He relays details, page after relentless page, that he couldn't possibly know, unless he was able to clone himself and be in more than one place at a time. No room for suspension of disbelief here, I'm afraid.

On the cover, the Chicago Tribune calls this book "Oates's finest." If that's really the case, I can't imagine her worst. If I could give this book zero stars, I would.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William Krischke on June 21 2004
Format: Paperback
Shortly after I finished reading this book, I heard an interview of the author that improved my opinion of the book. Wait, how's that? Am I reviewing the book or the author? Good question. What I should say is that the interview with the author made me respect what the author was attempting to do in the book. It's a noble venture. And don't tell me that outside information, including other's opinions, doesn't affect your own opinion about a book. That's what book clubs are about, after all, and incidentally, this is one of Oprah's pick. All hail Oprah, patron saintess of new authors. JC Oates isn't a new author, though.
What was I saying. Oh yes. The author's intentions were noble. To hear her talk about the book surely makes one want to read it. It's the story of a father who loves his daughter so much he disowns her, and then lets his love for her destroy his marriage, career, and life. It's a story of a tragedy that affects the victim less than it affects those around her. (am I spelling "affect" right? should it be "effect?") It's a story of how, for one character, botched revenge brings more relief than perfect revenge. Doesn't that sound compelling?
The problem is, it's not all that compelling. I got tired of the characters: all of them, starting with the sunny sweet mother, then the overly analytical Patrick, than the overly aggressive, angry head in the sand father, and finally the oh-so-innocent. Basically in the order the focus shifts, I grow tired. And more than the characters, I grew frustrated with the author's techniques. It drove me crazy that sometimes Judd told the story and sometimes Judd was a character in the story (Judd did this, said that, instead of I did this, did that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lyla tov on March 15 2003
Format: Paperback
all the bad reviews here echo my thoughts on the writing, character development, plot, narration, etc.
this is also my first oates book & i found it so thoroughly unpleasent that i've decided it will be my last.
the character development was horrendous, but just let me add my 2cents in here: i found it really sickening how the author portrayed the female characters in this book. she wanted you to feel some sympathy for corrine & marrianne but they were so utterly grotesque in their protrayals, it makes me wonder if this author is 100% mentally all there herself.
the mother was from the outset really irritatingly annoying & shallow, never got better, never achieved insight or redempton, nothing, nada...
the [attack] vitim was a caraciture of a "solied" girl turned martyred saint who accepts the responsiblity FOR the [attack], for every horrible thing ever done to her a we are supposed to think that she is "good girl" horribly wronged, ... with mental problems---she comes off across as less of a human being than i have EVER read in any book--and without proper reasoning,as if we are just to believe that her being a devout Christian is the only reason for this. her character borders on complete idiocy; you cannot help but be revolted by her --NOT the [attack]--which by the way, & i find this horribly disturbing---is never explained totally AS [an attack]!
the author puts some doubt in the text to suggest that it may have not been [an attack]--which is really something when you go on to consider how she describes marriane as a person w/ classical post-traumatic stress disorder, who in the examinatng room has torn genitals & bruises (& even explained as to be caused from where the [attacker] was 'thrusting' upon her...
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