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The Burgess Boys

A Novel
Strout, Elizabeth (Book - 2013 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Burgess Boys


Item Details

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.
Authors: Strout, Elizabeth
Title: The burgess boys
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, c2013.
Characteristics: 320 p. ;,25 cm.
Summary: 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.
Local Note: 1 6 7 8 9 15 16 17 18 27 29 35 53 54 57 66 69 71 74 75 76 80 109 112 118 122 133 138 143 149 150 152 153 156 159 160 167 172 173 175 177 182 188 193 198 203 205 210 211 216 222 224 226 228 231 242 243 244 245 250 262 263 264 268 276
ISBN: 1400067685
9781400067688
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Report This Feb 07, 2014
  • LesleyHobbs rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I have mixed feelings about this book; in general terms it is a well written novel with interesting (though oft-times predictable) characters, reasonably well developed themes and a decent story. It is always a pleasure to read a book that checks so many markers, especially in a time when many writers rely on a single plot to carry a novel. On the other hand, it is not a book that we will still be reading in fifty years; it lacks the chops and finesse of great literature. Elizabeth Strout manages to weave love, mistrust, family loyalty, truth, lies, fear and alienation... For the rest of the review visit: http://www.lesleyhobbs.net/book-reviews.html

Report This 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.

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

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

Report This 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.

Report This 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.

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

Hard to get going but picked up at the end.

Report This 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.

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

spoiler alert. This is an exccellent story of family systems and how one secret can influence everyone. One of the most interesting things is that for most of the book It seemed like Jim was the mainstay of the family--the family thought so, too. then the secret was revealed and so was the fact that, inreality, Bob was the more stable, centered individual who had staying power. See "quotations" Very facinating and had a hard time putting it down. Also enjoyed the twists of humor. Never expected the secret! Examines racism and interesting on Somalis in Maine. Like story of "Good Samaritan" from the Bible--the one you don't expect and others look down upon is the one who does the compassionate thing.

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Report This 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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