Discovery eagleA gently told story about a family damaged by the drinking excesses of the father.   It is told from the first person perspective of the son, now 28 working in IT in a deadish-end job, boring but safe.  This after dropping out of college where he had been studying  astronomy.  He has an older married sister from whom he is estranged, a younger sister who can’t seem to settle down in any locale or in any job, and his newly divorced mother.   His younger sister is currently living with the father in order to save money, since she has none.

In this sequel to Olive Branches Don’t Grow on Trees, Cosmo is approached by his younger sister to travel with her to Portland, Oregon, where her friend is waiting for her and will give her a place to live while the sister finds a job and saves enough money for her own place.   She is hoping that Cosmo will actually decide to quit his job and look for work in Portland, and change his life.

There is a lot of musing and internal ruminations on Cosmo’s part as they travel along, and the free feeling of having no schedule begins to change Cosmo.

It is all about the effects an abusive and erratic alcoholic parent can have on the family members, making some of them permanently afraid and wary, and others rootless and gunshy.  It makes everybody scared, Silvia still running figuratively from her father’s rampages, and Cosmo still trying to make himself invisible  so that Frank wouldn’t notice him.

There was a fair amount of what to me seemed like pretentious juvenile introspection and analysis, and yet it was a soothing book to read.  Almost a YA but not quite, maybe because the YAs were actually now full grown adults, but they seemed like every teenager you have ever known.

You know what I think the problem with this book is?  Me.  I’m the problem with this book.  Now that I have reached my platinum years, I realized I have heard all this before;  none of it was new, the ideas no longer fresh to me, the lessons already learned.   So yes, it is a book for younger (than me) readers,  for those with much less life experience, who are still on Chapter Two of How to Do Life.

Likable characters, an easy, plain writing style, a timeless story of dysfunctional families.   In spite of my jaded and aged outlook, I liked it anyway.



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