The Burgess Boys

A Novel

Strout, Elizabeth

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Burgess Boys
Catalyzed by a nephew's thoughtless prank, a pair of brothers confront painful psychological issues surrounding the freak accident that killed their father when they were boys, a loss linked to a heartbreaking deception that shaped their personal and professional lives.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2013.
ISBN: 1400067685
Characteristics: 320 p. ;,25 cm.


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Strout excels in characterization - this time, she has created a complex adult siblings' relationship that is frustrating for the reader who has to wonder why these two brothers and their sister even bother talking to each other. The more you read, the more you understand their complicated bond when the brothers return to their small hometown in Maine to help their sister and her son who is arrested for tossing a pig's head into a mosque. Secrets are exposed including one that includes the premature death of their father.

Can I get 2 copies please.

Thank You

For such a high rated book, I found this novel a struggle to get through and boring. I am 1/4 of the way from being finished, and honestly, I don't know if I care enough to find out how it ends (which is hard for me to do, as i NEVER not finish a book). It's definitely not a complicated novel, rather it is one that is just simply boring. I would pass on this, as it's just "meh"....

Jul 16, 2014
  • InvernessS rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Rather disappointed & not engaging enough to hold my interest. I rarely find lit about this area to my taste - not a NYC attitude person.

Jan 04, 2014
  • mmetner rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I agree, slow start but eventually i couldn't "put the book down." Strout's writing is smart. I found the book informative about Somalis and related it to my experiences with Hmong people and other "groups" moving into our our cities and small towns. I relate to a family with some craziness and liked the bits of humor too.

Dec 16, 2013
  • mrsgail5756 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

Nov 08, 2013
  • Cdnbookworm rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This novel tells us the story of Bob and Jim Burgess and their sister Susan. The story begins when the boys are in their fifties and Susan's teen son Zach does something unthinkable. All three adults grew up in Maine, and while Bob and Jim left, Susan stayed, married, had Zach, divorced, and just tried to do the best she could. But their town started to shrink with all the young people leaving, until it became a haven for refugees from Somalia. Zach, for reasons unclear even to him, has taken a frozen pig's head and rolled it into a building that the Somalis use as a mosque. Zack is ignorant of the meaning of his action to his victims until it becomes a rallying point in the nation for intolerance and hate.
Jim left Maine years ago, becoming well known for his successful defence of a client and going on to a big New York City law firm. Bob has also gone to New York City, but his legal career has taken a different route. Susan calls on Jim to help with Zack's situation, but it is Bob who will come with earnestness, trying to be there for his twin sister despite her feelings toward him.
Jim, Bob, and Susan, are all shaped by their father's death, run over by a car they were in, with Bob, too young to remember, supposedly responsible for moving the gear shift out of park. While this incident had a huge effect on all of them, it is something never talked about. The boys return to Maine to assist their sister brings it back to the surface in ways unexpected, and relationship changing.
This is a book about the impulses of youth, about guilt and tolerance, about how you can never really escape where you came from. A book about a family, and their baggage. A book about growth and community.

Aug 12, 2013
  • VanessaJean rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A good read and there are twists but, of course, those are expected. I recommend for anyone looking for an intelligent read. Unlike some books, the ends are tied up in such a way that you are not left wondering about how everything worked/works out.

Jul 08, 2013
  • bigoz123 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Hard to get going but picked up at the end.

Jun 18, 2013
  • writermala rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The Burgess family is portrayed in this book with such extraordinary clarity that I began to feel they were part of my immediate circle. In today's world where dysfunctionality is the norm, this family's unity and Jim and Bob's running to the aid of Zach and Susan when they are in need is touching. The story is woven neatly and there is not a single needless character or event. I just loved it from beginning to end.

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Apr 06, 2013
  • sharonb122 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

p. 311: Bob to Jim: "You have family. You have a wife who hates you. Kids who are furious with you. A brother and sister who make you insane. And a nephew who used to be kind of a drip but apparently is not so much of a drip now. That's called family."


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