You know the Dugans. They're that scrappy family that lives down the street. Their yard is overgrown, they don't pick up after their dog, their five children run free - leaving chaos in their wake - and the father hasn't earned a cent in years. The wife holds them together on her income alone. You wouldn't want them for neighbors - but from a distance, their quite entertaining.
Of course, alcohol is an issue. You can tell from the empty bottles lying under the bush out front. You can hardly blame the wife for leaving one day. Without her at the helm, the rest carry on the best they can.
Their strong sense of family keeps them going. They help each other, and in some cases, rescue each other. They struggle for a better life. While they never follow the rules, or completely conquer adversity, they stare it down, meet their challenges, and earn some much needed respect. They might even make you proud.
Set in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, the twelve linked stories in Our Love Could Light The World depict a dysfunctional family that's messy and rude, cruel and kind, and loyal to the end.
Paperback, 202 pages
Published June 3rd 2013 by She Writes Press (first published March 23rd 2013)
About the Author
from her website
Since 1982, Anne Leigh Parrish has called Seattle, Washington home. A native of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, Anne spent her high school years in Princeton, New Jersey, and then made her way west.
Anne from the University of Colorado, then moved once more to Seattle to attend graduate school at the University of Washington. After earning her MBA, Anne realized her first and only love was writing, which she has pursued relentlessly for many years.
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The old lady had died some time that spring.We all have some "Dugans" in our neighborhood, or have known them at some point. Poverty-stricken and their home and yard in a shambles. On the outside, they seem to be a wreck and loveless. But you don't know what's going on behind the scenes. You don't see the warmth and love that exists there in those flawed human beings.
The Dugans consist of parents Potter and Lavinia, and their five children.
Potter is an alcoholic who does construction and the like off and on. He isn't of much use to anyone, least of all himself, but he has a kind heart.
Lavinia is responsible and does her best to keep things together. She wears a suit to work and carries a suitcase, but none of the neighbors are sure what she does for a living. She can be selfish and mean-spirited.
Eldest child Angie is overweight and sports a nose ring and spiky green hair. She is described as ruling her siblings "with a steady stream of insults". But underneath it all, she is all heart.
Timothy is second oldest, followed by twins Marta and Maggie (Marta is harsh and scornful while Maggie is quiet, but full of deep longing and desire.). Sweet Foster with the crippled leg is the baby of the family at eight years ("The name was based on a statement Mrs. Dugan made, that if she had any more children they'd end up in foster care").
This story was totally character-driven, and what wonderful characters they were. I think Angie wound up being my favorite. She was the one that I had the most hope for. She had her mother's toughness, but also a strength inborn in her that both parents lacked. Her mother Lavinia may have been tough, but she wasn't strong.
I loved the writing. Easy to read and captivating, the author draws you into this spirited and offbeat family. It was different than I expected. I had thought it would be different perspectives of a brief period of time or event. Instead it was alternating perspectives on the life of a family, and covers probably about a decade. It is always fascinating to see an event from one perspective and gain an opinion about it, and then have it flipped and see it from the other side. This happens repeatedly in this story.
I did note that the book seemed to end rather abruptly. But after rethinking it, I found it a rather suitable ending for this family.
I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:
Monday, January 6th: Bibliophiliac
Tuesday, January 7th: Knowing the Difference
Wednesday, January 8th: girlichef
Thursday, January 9th: Lavish Bookshelf
Friday, January 10th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, January 13th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Tuesday, January 14th: 5 Minutes for Books
Wednesday, January 15th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, January 16th: My Bookshelf
Friday, January 17th: Too Fond
Tuesday, January 21st: You Can Read Me Anything
January 22nd: Cheryl’s Book Blog
Thursday, January 23rd: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, January 27th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, January 29th: Broken Teepee
Monday, February 3rd: A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Monday, February 10th: The Lost Entwife.
My final word: Sweetly touching, affective and provocative, I just found this story very charming. It makes me think back on those Dugans I've known in the past, and realize that this is probably a lot like what it was like inside their walls. There was a lot of love bound up within those crumbling walls-- and a lot of longing and regret, and hope.
Inside the house, a telephone rang and rang. What a lonely sound, she thought. Unless someone was calling with bad news. In that case, the emptiness of the place was a mercy.Buy Now:
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I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.