What happens when two thirtysomething siblings relive the summer reading programs of their youth in an all-out battle of the books? The race is on as they read by the rules and keep tally on their logs to see who will be the ultimate reader by Labor Day 2010.

August 9, 2010

The Other Family, Joanna Trollope

I always wanted an older sibling, preferably a brother. He would help me out when I needed, but not in a bossy way. He would often play the games I wanted, unless he came up with a better idea that I liked. He'd take the blame for things I did, and let me claim the praise for things he did. He'd be fraternal perfection.

Instead, I was the eldest and, I'm sorry to say, a wee bit bossy and exacting (note the use of the past tense).

While scavenging in the new fiction section last week, I pulled out Joanna Trollope's "The Other Family". Two families are strangely pulled together following the sudden death of their shared father, leaving all members to struggle with how to continue their lives in the face of such loss. While I felt many of the characters were forgettable or unlikable, I was intrigued by the growing friendship between the son (now 37) and his youngest half-sister, an 18-year-old girl whom he meets for the first time at their father's funeral. At a time when their nuclear families and friends fail them, they find the support they so desperately need in each other. Trollope stops herself from creating the perfect blended family in the end (no NutraSweet ending here), but gives the reader some hope that they all get through this sad and awkward experience for the better.


  1. I love Sad Family books, so I might check this out at some point. Also, thank you for using the word "wee," an adverb/adjective I am hearing on an hourly basis in Edinburgh.

  2. This blog is going to be fun to read Kerry. You keep up the good work.