My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first of Sue Miller’s books that I’ve read. It was a good book but it fell short of a full five stars for me.
It was a very real picture of a family broken by mental illness. I applaud Miller for her extremely believable portrait of the Eberhardt family which being torn apart by a child with autism. The family struggles through accusations from other each other, failing marriages, disruptive children, war, and so on. Based on how Miller describes these events in the lives of the Eberhardts, I would have given the book five stars. Each major event is described in shifting perspective, which works on occasion but not always. These small “snapshots” of the Eberhardt family is partly where the book derives its name.
However, the book was very long-winded. As I said before, the shifting perspective got confusing on occasion and I would have to recheck who I was reading about at the time. The book tended to go off on tangents at times only adding to my confusion. The book appeared to be very shallow at times, but giving the time period and setting that may have been intended. The characters seemed to lack a little bit, they just weren’t “real” enough to me to reach the height of a five-star book.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad book. I liked it, but it was difficult to follow at times and could be long-winded. The premise of the story was good. As strong as the descriptions were of the people, places, and events, it really just fell short of what it really could have been. With some humorous and inspiring passages, it wasn’t the worst novel I’ve ever read, but it really could have been better.