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Thursday, September 10, 2009

House and Home

by Kathleen McCleary

At every turn of the page I was reminded of one of my favorite places - Portland, Oregon.  That was both a good and a bad thing.  Good because it brought back sights and experiences but a bad thing because it made my longing to get in the car and drive there so much stronger.  Just read this and see if you don't long to go to Oregon with me:
When she moved to Oregon, it wa like moving from black and white Kansas to a Technicolor Emerald City.  Yes, the sky was gray and the rains came, but the ground was green, green all year long, and the laurels and Douglas firs and cedars were green even in winter. . . And she fel, finally, that with all that rich color, her life came into focus, too, that she somehow grew more vivid and became the person she was meant to be, the one who was just a ghost in Michigan.
House and Home is the story of Ellen Flannigan, who seems to have it all - 2 precious daughters, a cozy neighborhood coffee shop, a terrific best friend who lives next door and a sexy, if irresponsible, husband.  And she adores her house.  But as her 18-year, roller-coaster marriage heads toward divorce, she's about to lose it all - her house, her husband and her sanity.
If only she could hang in that moment forever, suspended like a cocoon dangling from a silk thread.  She'd never have to move forward then, into the moment when she'd actually walk out the door of this house for the last time
I liked House and Home, though there were times that I wanted to shake Ellen.  Part of that might be because I don't usually get overly attached to things.  I could walk away from my house today, though the back yard would tugged on my heart strings.  Maybe I'll fall in love with my house after the remodeling is finished, but I don't think so.  I can imagine a house that would break my heart to leave, but I don't think I'll see it in this lifetime.

This would be a good movie.  Some of Ellen's shannigans would be hilarious to watch played out on the big screen.  Even as I'm thinking about saying the movie would be a chic-flick, I wouldn't say the book is chick-lit.  I'm not sure why because I certainly don't see men reading House and Home.  Let me step out of my confusion long enough to say this is a good, fun, entertaining and light read.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am fortunate to live in beautiful Portland, Oregon, and I read House and Home last year after finding it on the "local interest" shelf at Powell's. The author's vivid descriptions of all things Portland made me see my adopted home in a whole new way. I, too, wanted to shake Ellen (well, actually, I wanted to slap her) but by the end of the book I was satisfied that she understood the difference between a house and a home. I agree with you about the movie....it would be a lot of fun. Do you know if Kathleen McCleary is planning to publish another novel?

Zibilee said...

I hadn't heard of this book, but after reading your review, I think it sounds like something I would like. I think it's really cool that you had such a personal reaction to this book.

Cath said...

Oregon is a state I've always wanted to visit and Portland sounds wonderful. Would also love to visit Seattle, WA. One day...

Framed said...

I could easily walk away from my house also. Fun, entertaining and light. That's all I need a book to be.

Kathy McCleary said...

Thanks for the great review. The book is a love letter to Portland in many ways. I moved 5 years ago and still miss it (of course, I go back 4 or 5 times a year. I moved, but I never really left).
I am almost done with my second book and hope to get it to my agent this month. If all goes well, it will be out next year.
Again, thanks for the thoughtful review!

Diane said...

I'm not a fan of chick-lit but this story sounds like I would enjoy. Thanks for posting about it.

Rose City Reader said...

I live here in Portland and I am obsessively attached to my house -- I should read this book.

Staci said...

Oregon has always intrigued me!! So does this book and I just might have to check this one out!!

lisamm said...

Sorry it took me a couple of days to get over here and check out your review of H & H. I'm SO GLAD you enjoyed it and I really appreciate all the time and effort that went into reading and reviewing the book. The book really made me want to visit Portland, too!

Thanks again! Great review.

Les said...

I had no idea that this book was making the TLC rounds this month. What a coincidence, as I just read it a couple of weeks ago. I loved all the references to Portland (any book set in the PNW has got my name on it!), but this one fell short for me. I'll be interested to see what McCleary has in store for her readers with her next release.