Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Someone; Alice McDermott

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).

Amazon Description

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


  1. Diane, this sounds like my kind of read. I'm glad your book club enjoyed it. Lovely review!

  2. That sounds like a really good one!

  3. I like how you include the book club comments - these are quite helpful. I've enjoyed McDermott, what I've read. A favorite is Child of My Heart, though that novel wouldn't appeal to everyone because of some controversial parts. (I don't know if this comment will appear, I have a great deal of difficulty commenting here.)

  4. I like the sound of this. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn has been on my reading list forever so I think I would like a book that has shades of it.

  5. This has been on my 'to read' list for way too long! Sounds like a great book.

  6. As I was reading your review, I was thinking A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- one of my favorites! I need to see if I can put this one on hold at my library! Thanks!

  7. I'm going to have to add this to my list. I don't think I've ever read McDermott.


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