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The Year We Left Home

Thompson, Jean

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Year We Left Home
A New York Times bestseller in hardcover, The Year We Left Home is National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson's mesmerizing, decades-spanning saga of one ordinary American family that captures the turbulent history of the country at large. Named a New York Times Editors' Choice, a People magazine "Pick of the Week," and an Indie Next and Midwest Connections selection, The Year We Left Home is the career-defining novel that Jean Thompson's admirers have been waiting for: a sweeping and emotionally powerful story of a single American family during the tumultuous final decades of the twentieth century. Stretching from the early 1970s in the Iowa farmlands to suburban Chicago and across the map of contemporary America, The Year We Left Home follows the Erickson siblings as they confront prosperity and heartbreak, setbacks and triumphs, and seek their place in a country whose only constant seems to be breathtaking change. Ambitious and richly told, this is a vivid and moving meditation on our continual pursuit of happiness and an incisive exploration of the national character.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2011
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed
ISBN: 143917590X
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 325 p. ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Reason: A moving portrait of a family over time, this novel features psychologically complex characters and a meditation on many issues.

From the critics

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Jul 14, 2013
  • sharonb122 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A well-written novel with a "Wizard of Oz" theme where three children (plus Chip) leave home, but eventually all return in one way or another. There is much symbolism and themes. family, of course, war, patriotism.

Jan 28, 2013
  • megaculpa rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Like Alice Munro, Jean Thompson is best known for her well-crafted short stories. This episodic novel spans thirty years and a dozen members of an extended Iowa family in a series of linked stories. Thompson gradually and artfully pulls the threads together into a satisfying whole. This is an author who cares about her characters and her readers.

Jun 10, 2012
  • annmelone rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A great midwestern family story with less angst than Jonathan Franzen and more love and soul. Started a bit slow but great ending.

Jul 25, 2011
  • maven rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I really liked the writing style, but the story was boring and not much seemed to happen. I also had a hard time caring about any of the characters enough to see what happened to them, so I just quit.

Jul 12, 2011
  • kabruzino rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Loved the book, couldn't put it down. Liked how each chapter was written focusing on a different character each time. Different spin on growing up in the midwest.

Jun 21, 2011
  • debwalker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"Family Saga
Jean Thompson's The Year We Left Home (Simon & Schuster) plumbs the American heart with rigor and intensity, seamlessly connecting one family's fortunes to those of the larger national community—from the aftermath of Vietnam through the farm crisis of the 1980s, into the tech boom and bust. Built from individual narratives that at first seem disconnected, the novel follows the four Erickson siblings of Iowa through marriages and deaths as well as smaller moments of alienation, loss, and maturity. Eventually, like the Ericksons, we come to realize that "no moment of life was like any other and as soon as you became aware of them, they were as good as gone."

— Liza Nelson


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Jun 09, 2014
  • jhealey73 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

“The danger of sending your children to college was that they would be contaminated by subversive forces, bad influences and bawdy women."


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