Someone; Alice McDermott
Farrar, Straus and Giroux - 2013
Our October book group read was Someone by Alice McDermott. We had a full house for this discussion and, for the most part everyone enjoyed this novel on some level. (I really liked it a lot - a 4.5/5 stars for me. This book had me requesting one more of McDermott's books: After This, which I hope to get to this month).
An ordinary life-its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion-lived by an ordinary, but unforgettable woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott's extraordinary seventh novel.
We first glimpse Marie Commeford as a child: a girl in thick glasses observing her pre-Depression world from a Brooklyn stoop. Through her first heartbreak and eventual marriage; her delicate brother's brief stint as a Catholic priest and his emotional breakdown; her career as a funeral director's "consoling angel"; the deaths of her parents and the births of her children-we follow Marie through the changing world of the twentieth century and her Irish-American enclave. Rendered with remarkable empathy and insight, Someone is a novel that speaks of life as it is daily lived, with passion and heartbreak, a crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.
Book Group Comments
- A quiet enjoyable novel, character driven, but not much action
- A couple of readers thought it was reminiscent of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
- The writing was great and so descriptive; read it in 2 sittings
- Strong brother sister bond was special
- I loved Marie the main character; she was real yet ordinary but just so likable. The story begins when Marie was 7 and follows her through the end of her life in an assisted living facility
- Marie's first boyfriend, Walter was a cad. He was no prize physically yet he broke up with her and said he was going to marry someone "prettier and whose family had more money".
- A story of life, love and heartbreak