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February: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett {Book Club}

My love for Ann Patchett knows no bounds, and her latest novel, Commonwealth, is the perfect addition to her already perfect body of work.  The book club usually votes on our selections, but I went rogue for February and made a solo decision.  I was lucky enough to get my hands on an Advanced Reader’s Copy this summer, and as I sat on the beach with Commonwealth in hand, I was amazed  – as usual – with her writing simple, yet elegant writing, relating aspects of the real ‘human’ journey.  Patchett shares bits of real life, but she lets it unfold so poetically, and you come to relate to the characters as no different than real friends and acquaintances.

This book will resonate with anyone, but particularly those who have blended families, or less than idyllic upbringings…so, pretty much ALL of us.  I’d love to have you join me and the group in reading Commonwealth in February!  We’ll meet on Sunday, February 26 at about noon, and if you’re in the northern DE or Philly area, and want to join us, leave a comment below and I’ll get you the info!


We had  a great discussion with the group, and explored many thoughts and ideas regarding marriage, divorce, and blended families.  This book was a huge hit, and as a group we’d highly recommend it.  One of the things we loved about Commonwealth was that it was so relatable – the characters’ stories were complex, intriguing, and at times surprising – much like real life.  The story was authentic, and we could see – knowing a little about Ann Patchett’s life – how it was considered her most autobiographical novel.

We discussed how people become a family again after a divorce – something that is often extremely difficult for those involved – and how children in particular are affected by divorce.  As a group, we were intrigued by how differently each child was affected, which resonated with people who had their own children – every child is unique in his/her emotional journey, and as a parent, we agreed that it is important to be aware and sensitive of this.  We also discussed the impact of two people and one decision – that kiss on Franny’s baptism day – on many, many other people.  That one decision changed two families’ lives forever, and we often neglect to think about how powerful seemingly simple decisions can be.

Overall, this is a great read.  The stories are complex, and the ending feels good.  It’s not idyllic, nor does it present an ‘everything is great’ vibe, but it’s peaceful in the way that real life is – not perfect, but beautiful nonetheless.

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