Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

I’ve read several books by Ann Patchett. I really like her writing style and I enjoy reading books that are heavier or more thoughtful in nature. That’s the way I have found all of her stories so far. Commonwealth, though, was not my favorite. (That would be Bel Canto.)

Commonwealth tells the story of two marriages that end, and two families that blend, because of an affair that began at one child’s Christening party.

Patchett takes us through the years of the six children whose lives were up-ended as a result of the “blending”. Most of them survive neglect and grow up to be independent, functioning adults. But not all of them. It’s painful watching them make poor choices as they grow, but it’s a little bit lovely too, to see how they love and support one another in the future.

Some reviewers call this book depressing. They’re shocked at the level of non-supervision these children lived with during their summers together. But I really feel like Patchett has a good sense of what was acceptable/typical supervision of the time period. And I guess that is sort of depressing, but it also seemed very authentic.

This was book number 6 out of 12 for my TBR Challenge for 2022.

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