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Review: Elsewhere

December 14, 2012


Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Richard Russo was born and raised in Gloversville, New York.  His parents’ marriage didn’t last very long, so he was essentially raised by his mother and her parents.  He and his mother lived in the second story of a two family house his grandparents owned.  His mother had a pretty good job and, for the most part, life was good for young Richard.  When he decided to attend college in Arizona, his mother quit her job and went with him.  Once away from the support of his grandparents, Russo began to see that his mother had some internal struggles.  She fancied herself an independent woman yet never learned to drive.  Now that she was away from her parents, she became more and more dependent on her son, even after he married and had children.  It seemed she was always searching for the one thing that would bring her contentment.   It wasn’t until after her death that Russo came to realize what was driving her restlessness.

Elsewhere, by Richard Russo, is being billed as a memoir, but it’s really his mother’s story.  As her only child and, often, her only friend, Russo’s life was closely meshed with his mother’s, especially after they escaped Gloversville.  An escape was just what it felt like for his mother, yet as soon as she left her hometown, she longed to be back there.  Once there, she was ready to leave once more.  The older she became, the more unsettled she seemed.

Gloversville was also a big part of Russo’s life long after he left.  Home to many glove manufacturer’s, it had once been a prosperous town but, as the glove industry declined, so did Gloversville’s fortune.  Russo was happy to escape the town, not realizing just how much it affected him.

I listened to the audio version of Elsewhere and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I was a little nervous about the audio since it’s read by the author, but he did an outstanding job.  I was totally engaged the whole time and needed to know how things turned out for Russo and his mother.  It was obvious that Russo loved his mother deeply, even when he didn’t understand her.

Review copy provided by Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.
20 Comments leave one →
  1. Veens permalink
    December 14, 2012 5:45 am

    This sounds like a touching memoir. I would definitely want to read it. I am intrigued to know what happens after they leave Gloversville. Adding this to my wishlist.

  2. December 14, 2012 6:40 am

    He’s one of my favorite authors so I want to read this – interesting that it ends up being his mother’s story.

  3. December 14, 2012 6:49 am

    Gloversville is clearly the setting in some of his novels. I am thinking especially of Nobody’s Fool and The Risk Pool.

  4. kaye permalink
    December 14, 2012 6:57 am

    I’ve never read this author but if you and Mary like him, I think he needs to go on the list! Glad you enjoyed it so much.

  5. December 14, 2012 8:18 am

    This sounds fascinating and I think I would choose the audio as well. I’m adding this to my list right now!

  6. December 14, 2012 8:37 am

    Thanks for the great review…so glad it was enjoyable.

    Have a great day!!

  7. December 14, 2012 8:48 am

    Intriguing! Makes me wonder what was behind his mother’s restlessness.

  8. Beth Hoffman permalink
    December 14, 2012 8:48 am

    I like Richard Russo’s writing and hadn’t heard of this one until your review. I’ll have to add it to my list. Thanks, Kathy!

  9. December 14, 2012 10:29 am

    Wow this sounds powerful Kathy, I will be looking for it on audio.

  10. December 14, 2012 11:40 am

    This does sound intriguing, Kathy. You have me wondering about the mother’s restlessness. I’m glad you enjoyed the audio version of this memoir (mom-oir?),

  11. Patty permalink
    December 14, 2012 2:26 pm

    I love this author…he hangs out at the Camden Diner in Camden, Maine…eating fresh blueberry pancakes!

  12. December 14, 2012 3:39 pm

    this sounds like a nice book for the holidays 🙂

  13. December 14, 2012 5:54 pm

    Can you believe Ihave never even read a book by Russo? I need to remedy that!

  14. December 14, 2012 7:27 pm

    I have a few of his books but haven’t read them yet. However, I think this audio version of his mother’s story sounds like a great place to start. It sounds as if life was a bit sad for him having to play such a huge role in his mother’s life and her happiness. Awesome review!

  15. December 14, 2012 9:21 pm

    I have never read any of his books before, I may start with this one as it would give me an idea of who he is as an author.

  16. December 14, 2012 11:36 pm

    I haven’t heard of this author or this book before. Thanks for the review.

  17. bookingmama permalink
    December 15, 2012 6:34 pm

    I always think it’s a plus when the author can actually read his or her own words and do it well. There’s just that authenticity of the inflections, if that makes sense.

  18. December 16, 2012 3:13 pm

    Thanks for this review, the book sounds great. I don’t live very far from Gloversville, so I’ve been interested in this one.

  19. December 16, 2012 9:28 pm

    This sounds interesting … and I’m sure it is well-written as well. The mother-son relationship sounds like it has fascinating dynamics.

  20. December 17, 2012 9:15 pm

    An author I’ve always been a little intimidated to try!

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