Rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I found out that I'd won a copy of the new book Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon I also discovered that I had a copy of his previous book, You Remind Me of Me on my TBR shelf. So, before I received my First-Read selection, I read his earlier work which had some how or other managed to slip between the cracks of my TBR pile.
I enjoy books that tell a story from the different characters' perspectives. That's what Chaon does in You Remind Me Of Me. He's given the reader 3 distinctive main characters who tell most of the story, and there's 2 lesser characters that help to fill in the spaces. But over all of that there is another presence as well. A mother who has left her child and made no effort whatsoever to stay in touch with him. The child, Loomis, becomes the focal point for 2 brothers and a grandmother who love him and all say they want only the best for him, but who each have either no clue how to best take care of Loomis or are so convinced their way is the only way that it becomes clear Loomis is never going to benefit from this approach at all.
What Chaon does so well throughout You Mind Me Of Me is create a mood that pulled me into the lives of ordinary people. Except as more and more of the story is revealed, it becomes clear that there's nothing ordinary about the lives any of the people in this book. Society expects a certain conformity among people, but what happens when individuals have been given no tools from birth to help them figure out out to deal with the everyday business of living or the common sense to deal with more tragic events they encounter? I thought Chaon handled some intricate situations very well for his characters, and he made each of them, no matter what we may think of their behavior, sympathetic.
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