I just finished this book Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, which is actually older than I am but nevertheless a great read. Anne Tyler tells the story of a Baltimore family who is abandoned early on by their father. Pearl Tull is left to raise Cody, Ezra and Jenny on her own, all the while pretending that their father was away on a very long business trip.
The story starts from Beck Tull leaving his family and then goes through a relatively unknown timeline that traces the history of this family from that point on. It goes from the children living with their mother, to each going their separate ways and having children of their own. In reality none of these characters every fully understands the effect their father’s leaving ever had on any of them but it was something which continually incorporated itself in all their lives. And while the family is constantly pulling away from each other, whether due to envy, rivalries or just the desire to escape their mother, Ezra always uses his “Homesick Restaurant” to try and bring them back together despite the fact that they can never finish a meal without something or someone ruining it.
Each character is very unique and what is most interesting about the novel is Tyler’s fairly long chapters, which allow her to switch narrative and give the point of view of different characters. It’s a very clever way to write and I don’t remember reading too many books with this style. What’s interesting is that every character, just like in real life, has only assumptions about another character; a brother or a sister or a mother. Each one of them views each other and the various situations of growing up, very differently and they each get a chance to tell part of the story which is unknown to the rest of the characters and only the reader has the benefit of putting all the pieces together to get the full picture.
So I’d recommend it for a summer read (or maybe an autumn read)
Bottom Line: 3.5/5