Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

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I had waited on the library waiting list for nearly three months to finally get this book. It was worth the wait! I had never read Ann Patchett before, and this was definitely a good first pass at her as a writer.

The story is about a family in Southern California– the novel opens up with a christening party for the newest baby. The party gets a little wild when Bert shows up with gin and they start squeezing California oranges to make juice– gin and juice gets people dancing and Bert fancies Beverly, the mother of the guest of honor. He ends up kissing her during the party while she is holding the baby, Franny, and this sets up the stage for the book.

Beverly leaves her husband Fix for Bert. Bert leaves his wife Teresa and they move across the country to Virginia. The children are split across coasts spending summers in Virginia and blending two different families together.

The story explores the lives of these children and their parents and the invariable impacts of the divorces.  I loved the writing style Patchett uses, weaving in little tales from childhood into current situations within the characters’ lives.

Overall rating: 4/5

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