A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl by Jean Thompson
ebook, 336 pages
Expected publication: October 23rd 2018 by Simon Schuster
About the Book:
A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl is a poignant novel about three generations of the Wise family—Evelyn, Laura, and Grace—as they hunt for contentment amid chaos of their own making. Evelyn set aside her career to marry, late, and motherhood never became her. Her daughter Laura felt this acutely and wants desperately to marry, but she soon discovers her husband Gabe to be a man who expects too much of everyone in his life, especially his musician son. Grace has moved out from Laura and Gabe’s house, but can’t seem to live up to her potential—whatever that might be. In A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl we see these women and their trials, small and large: social slights and heartbreaks; marital disappointments and infidelities; familial dysfunction; mortality. Spanning from World War II to the present, Thompson reveals a matrilineal love story that is so perfectly grounded in our time—a story of three women regressing, stalling, and yes, evolving, over decades. One of the burning questions she asks is: by serving her family, is a woman destined to repeat the mistakes of previous generations, or can she transcend the expectations of a place, and a time? Can she truly be free? Evelyn, Laura, and Grace are the glue that binds their family together. Tethered to their small Midwestern town—by choice or chance—Jean Thompson seamlessly weaves together the stories of the Wise women with humanity and elegance, through their heartbreaks, setbacks, triumphs, and tragedies.
If you want to know who really loves you, look around and see who’s still standing next to you.
This is a story about relationships and finding one’s true self. The pace of the novel is measured and slowly builds, allowing the reader to be gently taken along for the ride. No major plot twists or adventure, this is a slice-of-life narrative that gives a peek into someone else's life. The characters are intriguing, quirky and classic Thompson.
She would never manage to break free from her family or cast off its legacy of unhappy women.
Jean Thompson is such a gifted writer that over the years I have read a lot of her books. She has the ability to use small and seemly insignificant details, but these just add to the feeling of reality. She never seems to miss anything happening around her and adds them to enhance her tales. This particular novel covers three generations of women, the story of a small life lived in big steps, and about the opportunities for self-discovery, self-realization and the missed chances to change ones path.
Here coffin that slowly passes, I give you my sprig of lilac.
The simplicity of the writing is so natural and so beautiful that although I wanted to finish it, I was sad when I did. A delightful read.
Thank you NetGalley, Simon Schuster and Jean Thompson for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own.