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Review: Red Hook Road

September 3, 2010

Two families, the Tetherlys and the Copakens, are tied together forever when their children get married.  When tragedy strikes shortly after the wedding, each member of the two families deals with their grief in different ways, at times drawing the two families closer together and at other times tearing them apart.

I was purposely vague in my description of Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman, because I went into the book knowing very little and I think that’s the best way to experience this great book.  The story is set on the coast of Maine and takes place the four summers after the marriage of Becca Copaken and John Tetherly.   The whole story centers around the tragedy that befalls the two families and the way in which everyone handles it, and because of that, the characters were the best part of the story for me.  It’s true that everyone grieves differently and, really, most reactions in this book made sense to me.  I hurt and agonized along with each and every character.  That’s not to say that I always agreed with the characters’ actions, but I did understand their motivations for doing them, so I could empathize with them.

The overall tone of this book is sadness and even though I felt like the characters finally made peace with their grief at the end, I felt a little glum as I closed the book.  I had become attached to the Copakens and the Tetherlys and I wanted them to live happily ever after, but as is often the case in real life, that just wasn’t going to happen.  The book did give me a lot to think about and I think it would make a fantastic book club pick because there’s much to discuss in it.  Don’t read Red Hook Road when you’re in the mood for a light read – save it for when you’re in a thoughtful mood – just make sure you read it!  I was captivated with this book from the beginning to the end.

Challenges: EW Summer Books Challenge

Review copy provided by Doubleday.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
39 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2010 5:45 am

    Read about this book all over but your review is the one that intrigues me!

  2. September 3, 2010 6:30 am

    Oh…you are on a roll, with the books I need to read. I’ll make sure I’m not in a blue mood when I start this one.

  3. September 3, 2010 7:03 am

    I probably shoudn’t read that one right now then! I have heard though that even though the book is a big fat bummer, it is written with grace and isn’t as depressing as you would think. It is definitely on my list to read when I am strong and in a great mood!

  4. September 3, 2010 7:53 am

    Loved your post about this book – it had me hooked! Now I have to find out what happens to these families. Thanks for the heads up on this book – I’ll be adding it to my list of books to buy ASAP.

  5. September 3, 2010 7:56 am

    Definitely a very deep book.

  6. September 3, 2010 8:04 am

    Great review!!! I have this in my request pile and am now looking forward to reading it.

  7. September 3, 2010 8:28 am

    It’s on my shelf – just waiting for a little down time to devote to reading it. I’m glad you liked it!

  8. September 3, 2010 8:30 am

    Great review! I absolutely loved this book despite its sadness. I thought the writing was just incredible!

  9. September 3, 2010 8:34 am

    I just finished this one and loved it as well! It was very sad, particularly the very end, and I think that though there were brief bits of humor, it was mostly a darker read. What interested me the most in the book was the relationship between the two mothers, particularly after the accident. It was really interesting to watch the two of them learn how to live with each other. Great review, Kathy! I am glad you liked the book as much as I did!

  10. September 3, 2010 8:41 am

    It is good to see Ayelet Waldman producing this quality fiction.

  11. September 3, 2010 8:42 am

    I’ve read this author’s mystery series – mom-at-home-with-kids type. It was fun. I’ve heard good things about this one, but do think I will take your advice to wait until I’m up for an introspective read.

  12. September 3, 2010 8:52 am

    It’s definitely thought-provoking…I really enjoyed it.

  13. September 3, 2010 9:11 am

    I wasn’t as depressed by this one as you were–as I said in my review, I find Waldman’s tone endlessly entertaining, so that lightened it up, along with the bits about the daughter who worked as a librarian and converted a Regency romance reader into an Austen lover!

  14. September 3, 2010 9:27 am

    I have this book on my to-be-read shelf. After reading what you wrote, I think I’ll have to push it closer to the top of it. It sounds really good.

    Thanks for being vague and not giving too much away.

  15. September 3, 2010 10:00 am

    Sounds like a great read – thanks for recommending! 🙂

  16. September 3, 2010 10:30 am

    I started to read this a while ago and ended up putting it down b/c I wasn’t in the mood for it at the time. It sounds great, though, and I should try to get back to it!

  17. September 3, 2010 10:44 am

    I can’t wait until this one pops up for me on SwapTree. Or maybe BookMooch.

  18. September 3, 2010 12:05 pm

    Great review. I am trying to get hold of it, with not much success. One of these days I will!


  19. September 3, 2010 12:20 pm

    I’ve been intrigued by this since I first saw it. Thanks for the review – sounds like an interesting read.

  20. September 3, 2010 1:28 pm

    Whenever I read books like this where the tone is sad it usually puts me off reading for awhile afterwards. Which is why I avoid Jodi Picoult and Oprah picks.

  21. September 3, 2010 2:44 pm

    I can’t wait to discuss this one either! I too felt sad at the end; they’d had some peace but their lives are still never going to be the same. Just like in real life.

  22. stacybuckeye permalink
    September 3, 2010 2:52 pm

    I do not think I could read this so close to finishing The Pact by Picoult. They sound a bit similar.

  23. Kaye permalink
    September 3, 2010 3:04 pm

    A big thank you for not giving away every detail of the book. This is the type of review I like- just enough to get me intrigued and want to see what it’s all about and not so much detail that there’s no point in reading the book. Excellent review!

  24. September 3, 2010 3:07 pm

    It sounds really good. Even though the mood of the book is sad-it sounds like such a great character study. Thanks.

  25. September 3, 2010 3:10 pm

    I’ve had this book on my list for a while, but for some reason I was reluctant to pick it up. Now I will. Terrific review, Kathy!

  26. September 3, 2010 3:17 pm

    I didn’t really find this one to be such a downer, although it certainly wasn’t cheerful! It was quiet and thoughtful and I liked it a lot. Glad you did too!

  27. September 3, 2010 4:00 pm

    thanks for the warning! i’m definitely in the mood for something light right now. i’m an optimist and i love reading books with happy endings, but i know that doesn’t always happen especially in real life. at the same time i can’t help but feel a little disappointed and sad for the characters when they don’t get their happy ending.

  28. September 3, 2010 5:24 pm

    Now that’s another great sounding book. I’ll have to add it to my wishlist.

  29. September 3, 2010 5:36 pm

    I would like to read this one. I see what you mean in your review. It’s not a light read at all. It is a worthwhile one. I would like to read it. I’ve seen this author’s name around. Does she have a nursery crime mystery series? I like the title here, Red Hook Road.

  30. September 3, 2010 7:12 pm

    I love love love books like this…it is perfect for this time of year…a lovely review…too.

  31. September 4, 2010 1:37 pm

    I’ve been looking forward to this one for some time and I’m glad to know that I won’t be disappointed. I do usually prefer not to know too much about a book going in–it usually does make the book better for me.

  32. September 4, 2010 8:38 pm

    I won a copy of this book in a giveaway. Thanks for the warning that I shouldn’t read it when I’m already a bit down.

  33. September 4, 2010 9:45 pm

    Okay, I have to add this to my wishlist! It sounds really interesting. Stories about grief can be very moving, and emotionally draining. I really think this is a book I would really enjoy. Heading over to Goodreads to add to my wishlist!

  34. September 4, 2010 11:54 pm

    I have this book on my nightstand so I’ll have to remember your tip of reading it when I am in a thoughtful mood!

  35. September 5, 2010 7:11 am

    I like a thought-provoking read! This one sounds good. I like how it looks too. This is definitely going into my wish list. I’m currently reading MOCKINGJAY and a two more. 😀

  36. September 6, 2010 6:27 pm

    I like the way that you reviewed this one…thanks because I’m planning on reading it soon! 😀

  37. September 7, 2010 12:24 am

    This one is already on my list and I will save it for a time when I need and want a thoughtful read.

  38. September 8, 2010 7:33 am

    Sounds like a good book, especially since I like family dramas. But I’ll probably hold off a bit, since I recently read Come Sunday and that’s a book heavy with grief. I’ve been reading light books since then!

  39. September 14, 2010 4:22 pm

    I have to admit, the vague description actually makes me want to read it more. haha

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