"Truth is stranger than fiction,
but it is because Fiction it is obliged to stick to possibilities;
Commonwealth - Ann Patchett
Author: Ann Patchett
Publ Date: 5/2017
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly--thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.
Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows among them.
When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.
Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.
All it took was one kiss for two marriages and the lives of their six children to be destroyed. Albert "Bert" Cousins is a deputy district attorney who is in a bored marriage to Theresa Cousins and together they have four children: Cal-12, Holly-10, Jeannette-8 and Albert Jr. "Albie"-6. While Fitz Keating, a detective, is married to the beautiful Beverly who have a daughter Caroline and have just welcomed their second daughter Franny. So where did it all go wrong?
The storyline was interesting, two families are rocked by infidelity and now the kids are the ones who suffer the consequences of neglect, loneliness and wreckless behavior. Although it would be common for the kids to dislike each other it was just the opposite. They actually rallied against Bert Cousins because they all blamed him for destroying their families. The book reflects on the lives of the adults and the kids and how they changed throughout the years. Throughout the book we get glimpses of what happened to the adult versions of the children. All the characters reflect on all the things that happened and whether anything could've been different. By the end they come to terms with all the decisions made and how they were handled.
I really wanted to like this book because I've heard good things of the author Ann Patchett. Maybe I walked into this with my expectations too high. However, I found Commonwealth to be slow paced and confusing at times. It wasn't until the middle of the book that you discover the tragic event that rocked the two families once again. It just seemed to drag on for me. Although it did have interesting plot points it wasn't anything that could steadily hold my interest and it took me forever to finish this book. When it got to the middle it inevitably picked up but then it started to wane again. There weren't enough high's in the story to keep it interesting to power through the low points. My other issue was the amount of characters. I had to make a list in order to keep track of who was who so it would make sense. There was definitely potential in the book but maybe I just missed it. I would consider reading the book again just to see if I would get a different perspective but I would have to give it enough time in order to forget I wasn't a fan of it.
What did you think of Commonwealth? Did you enjoy the book? What parts did you like or didn't like? Who was your favorite character? What did you think of Bert Cousins and Beverly Keating's role in what happened that summer? Do you blame either one or both? Why do you think the children lied? What do you think of Franny's role in the writing of the novel? What do you think of the adults the kids became? Would you recommend this book to someone?
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