Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Hills at Home by Nancy Clark

I finally finished that long book. It was a gift from Diane of Bibliophile by the Sea because I was the only commenter that said I would continue reading it when she quoted the first paragraph for a Teaser Tuesday post. I loved the description of a rainy, windy night, probably because I just love rain. I'm still glad she sent it to me. (Thanks, Diane.)

This is a book I didn't like but it wasn't bad enough to call it a DNF and toss it in the box to donate to the book sale. It's the story of a family in which each character's individual quirks and idiosyncrasies are exaggerated to the point of being ridiculous. The dust jacket says it's a "wonderfully comic family story" but I didn't even smile most of the time. It sort of reminded me of the only Ann Tyler book I read, which was so long ago I can't remember the title now.

Somewhere near Boston in a town named Towne (really!) lives Lily, an elderly lady who never married and enjoys a peaceful life alone in the old family home. Then, beginning on the aforesaid rainy night, a variety of family members descend on the house, supposedly for a visit, but actually to stay. There is Lily's brother, an opinionated old man who talks a lot but never gets anything done. Their niece Ginger and her daughter Betsy arrive from Kansas since drama queen Ginger has left her husband, and Betsy is distraught over the situation. Alden and Becky arrive with their bratty twin sons, Brooks and Rollins, and whiny daughter Little Becky. Other folks come for a bit and leave, but for almost a year the rest of them are stuffed into the house like so many sardines.

I did smile occasionally when the twins were up to something. No one could tell them apart so they were referred to thus. "What's for dinner?" asked Brooks. Or Rollins.

Not much happens in this long book. A guy named Andy Happening (I'm not making this up) comes to stay while he studies the family for his master's thesis, I think it is. So Andy observes, Ginger emotes, Betsy pines for her dad, Alden tries to think of a business to make some money, the twins and Becky drive everyone nuts, and Harvey, the brother, pontificates. Then just as suddenly as they arrived, they are all gone, and Lily sits alone on her patio answering their letters and enjoying the peace and quiet.

I suppose this is an interesting character study, but that's really all I can say for it. I wouldn't recommend the book.


  1. I've discovered character studies aren't for me, so I'll skip this one.

  2. Towne?!!! Andy Happening?!!! And to think there are those who talk about ME and MY reading! LOLOL

  3. OMG...I'm sorry I put you through such torture. I think I would have heaved that book, based on your review....LOL (Thanks for being a good sport and enduring).

  4. Diane, I'm still glad you sent it to me. It wasn't awful torture, just a character-building experience. :)

    Jill, Well you do read some weird stuff, you know. :D

    Kathy, I think that's a good decision. I don't think you would like it.

  5. it does sound as if it had promise - but really, those names and a drama queen plus horrible kids. No wonder Lily's glad when they've gone, and you're glad the book's over.

  6. I do want to read this and have for a while. I'll come back and read your post after I do!