Margin Notes: Red Hook Road

Red Hook RoadRed Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman

A rich and rewarding story of love, loss, and the power of family from the bestselling author of Bad Mother and Love and Other Impossible Pursuits
In the aftermath of a devastating wedding day, two families, the Tetherlys and the Copakens, find their lives unraveled by unthinkable loss. Over the course of the next four summers in Red Hook, Maine, they struggle to bridge differences of class and background to honor the memory of the couple, Becca and John. As Waldman explores the unique and personal ways in which each character responds to the tragedy—from the budding romance between the two surviving children, Ruthie and Matt, to the struggling marriage between Iris, a high strung professor in New York, and her husband Daniel—she creates a powerful family portrait and a beautiful reminder of the joys of life. 
Elegantly written and emotionally gripping, Red Hook Road affirms Waldman’s place among today’s most talented authors.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I needed a book while on vacation and found a fabulous little book shop in New Orleans (Faulkner Books) where the proprietor recommended this to me.

I went to college in Maine, so I'm always up for something with Maine as a setting. I loved this book. It was heartbreaking, sweet, and really moving. The story begins with an uplifting scene of a wedding, and quickly turns tragic when the vivacious couple is killed in a car accident. Watching two families struggle with grief, loss, and an struggle to get through their pain in two very different ways was hard, but worthwhile. One family, the predominant family in the book, the Copakens, summer in this town in Maine. They have a long history there and struggle to make a place for themselves among the Mainers who call them 'from-aways'. The Tetherleys are Yankee Mainers. The portraits of the mothers, one who cleans the other's homes the other who lived a privileged life, are moving and true counterpoints. When Waldman has moments of them coming together it's moving and impressive.

A sad book, to be sure, but one full of wonderful characters, a beautiful sense of place, and really interesting plot lines of love, grief, and socioeconomic struggles, that shines a light on relationships and how they evolve.


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