- Publisher: Fourth Estate Paperbacks (2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 184115699X
- ISBN-13: 978-1841156996
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 419 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,376,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
We Were the Mulvaneys Paperback – 2012
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Oprah Book Club® Selection, January 2001: A happy family, the Mulvaneys. After decades of marriage, Mom and Dad are still in love--and the proud parents of a brood of youngsters that includes a star athlete, a class valedictorian, and a popular cheerleader. Home is an idyllic place called High Point Farm. And the bonds of attachment within this all-American clan do seem both deep and unconditional: "Mom paused again, drawing in her breath sharply, her eyes suffused with a special lustre, gazing upon her family one by one, with what crazy unbounded love she gazed upon us, and at such a moment my heart would contract as if this woman who was my mother had slipped her fingers inside my rib cage to contain it, as you might hold a wild, thrashing bird to comfort it."
But as we all know, Eden can't last forever. And in the hands of Joyce Carol Oates, who's chronicled just about every variety of familial dysfunction, you know the fall from grace is going to be a doozy. By the time all is said and done, a rape occurs, a daughter is exiled, much alcohol is consumed, and the farm is lost. Even to recount these events in retrospect is a trial for the Mulvaney offspring, one of whom declares: "When I say this is a hard reckoning I mean it's been like squeezing thick drops of blood from my veins." In the hands of a lesser writer, this could be the stuff of a bad television movie. But this is Oates's 26th novel, and by now she knows her material and her craft to perfection. We Were the Mulvaneys is populated with such richly observed and complex characters that we can't help but care about them, even as we wait for disaster to strike them down. --Anita Urquhart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In a tale told primarily from the point of view of the youngest boy, Judd, listeners learn how each of the Mulvaneys struggles with 16-year-old Marianne's date rape and her father's fierce reaction to it Mike Mulvaney bans his daughter from the house, ostensibly because she will not name her rapist. In her 26th novel, Oates once again shows her prowess as mistress of the macabre. The best scenes are not early on when we're introduced to the lovely, successful Mulvaneys, their smart and charming children, and their middle-class American milieu. They are not in the rebuilding of individual lives in the wake of the father's disintegration and death. Nor are they toward the end, when the Mulvaneys reunite as an almost-functional, though much-changed family. It is the flashbacks of Marianne's date rape and especially brother Patrick's plotting and executing his vigilante justice that carry listeners from sentence to sentence throughout Adams's utterly convincing reading. Based on the Penguin hardcover.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.) And it drove me doubly crazy that every time the characters neared a turning point, the author pulled away from them. Patrick gets his revenge, and something changes inside him. What? How? I don't know. The author doesn't say. All we know is he quits school and only sends random postcards to his family. And Maryanne, after running away for so long, finally allows herself to be loved. How? I don't know. We cut from "the cat's not the only one that loves you" to married with children. I begin to feel that Oates is afraid of these, the most challenging moments in the stories of her characters, afraid of being trite and pedantic and heavy-handed, so she shies away from them. It's true, those are all dangers, but those are the great challenges of writing a good book. By not living up to those challenges, the heart of this story is left out. What we get, basically, is a sketch of a family that can't solve its problems, until somehow, vaguely, it does, and then there's a picnic happy ending.
This could have been a great book. It almost is a great book. It's a great concept. But the execution falls short.
The Mulvaneys own beautiful acreage called High Point Farm. The father has a prosperous business, the parents are well respected, members of the Country Club and solid citizens. Their four children are nothing short of perfect. The oldest is the star football player, the next excels in academics, and the daughter is popular enough to be a prom princess and a cheerleader. The youngest child is Judd, the primary voice in the story. It is through 14-year-old Judd's eyes that we most clearly see the family blown apart when his sister, Marianne, is raped the night of the school prom. From that moment forward, the Mulvaneys seem to be caught in a whirlpool of pain, exile, and misery that ends only after a tragedy occurs.
Michael Mulvaney senior is unable to cope with the rape of his daughter and unable to control his rage and depression over her unwillingness to press charges. She is sent away to live with a relative because he can't stand to look at her. One by one the other children move out or on to college, all internalizing the anger their father felt.
The story is a moving one. The characters are interesting and three dimensional if somewhat off balance and in serious need of counseling. If Oates could just control the need to provide so much unnecessary detail, the story would flow better and the reader be more willing to read to the end.
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews
I listened to the book on cd, and I must say, although I enjoyed it and felt the actor did a great job, I missed actually reading the language used by Oates...Read more
It is a story about the distingration about a seemingly "perfect family".Read more