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May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes: A Book Review

While waiting for a table at one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco called the Tipsy Pig, I wandered into the bookstore next door on Chestnut Street. I love wondering bookstores!  But this day I had a purpose. I had an upcoming vacation, and vacation time is when I have time to read. So I was truly on the hunt for an engaging novel. I usually gravitate to the staff picks as they give a little bit of personal feedback on what they like and dislike about a certain book. That day there were two novels that I was torn between. I walked over to the counter and asked that salesperson if she had read either one. She said that she hadn’t, but that she loves the writing of A. M. Homes. Without a personal endorsement I fell back to my other way of choosing a book. I began reading the first few pages of both. I ended up purchasing the novel by Homes titled, May We be Forgiven. I am so glad that I did – It has become one of my all-time favorite books!
May We Be Forgiven
I love dark comedy and this book has got it all. It is a wild and fantastic ride through the course of one year.  When I say it’s got it all – I mean murder, child abuse, sex clubs, prescription drug abuse, theft, kidnapping, illegal gun trade, affairs, money, the media, teenagers, love, and lust.  As an American suburban story it starts and ends at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  What happens in between is the complete fracturing of one family and then the rebuilding of “family” by Harry the younger and less successful brother of George. Reading this book is like riding Toad’s Wild Ride in Disneyland,  The plot is constantly twisting and turning, when you think there can be no more unexpected twist, Homes surprises you with an even more far-fetched OMG I never saw that coming.  Yet, somehow Homes is able to tie it all together in a seamless story where it all fits and in a crazy way makes sense.

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At its core this is a story of rebuilding family. Perhaps that is why I was so taken in. My life like Harry’s was unexpectedly torn to pieces.  I lost my family as I knew it.  But you keep doing what you know needs to be done. Like Harry, I kept moving forward, taking on new responsibilities, trying to make sense of it all, even going a bit crazy in some of my choices, learning about myself, and all the while trying to find a new normal.  And then one day, I (like Harry) realized that I had created a new normal. I rebuilt my family. Family is not always about who you are biologically related to. There is, as my good friend calls it, your family of choice – your chosen family.Yes, I loved this book.  I love dark comedy and loved the sappy (maybe even too sugary ending) – it is what I wanted to hear. That no matter how bad or crazy life can get – we can always start over and rebuild.  They say that we read to either validate our lives or to escape our lives – this book was able to give me both.  May we be forgiven? The answer is yes.A very funny book in a very twisted way.  This is dark comedy at its best. A great read – I highly recommend it!

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