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Good to a Fault Four very solid stars Fault weakness or failing Clara Purdy is driving along one day minding her own business when she hits the vehicle occupied by the Gage family Chaos ensues, adults, children and a baby come clamouring out of the car, everyone heads to the hospital Clara at first thinks she is free to go once everyone gets the all clear No serious injuries But there is a twist, and she somehow feels a moral obligation to take this family in temporarily I have to admit, these character Four very solid stars Fault weakness or failing Clara Purdy is driving along one day minding her own business when she hits the vehicle occupied by the Gage family Chaos ensues, adults, children and a baby come clamouring out of the car, everyone heads to the hospital Clara at first thinks she is free to go once everyone gets the all clear No serious injuries But there is a twist, and she somehow feels a moral obligation to take this family in temporarily I have to admit, these characters annoyed me Clara was generous and they were ingratiatingly thankless Endicott is a remarkable writer she brings these characters to life, whether we like them or not The characters can be intense, but the writing is gracious and quiet Was Clara s goodness in the end her own weakness This book could bring about some wonderful discussions My only regret is leaving it on my TBR pile for so long I look forward to readingworks by Endicott, a truly talented writer What a perfect book Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott is It reminded me of books I read back during my university years when I took my Canadian Lit course books like Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O Mitchell or Why Shoot the Teacher by Max Braithwaite It s a gentle, loving, caring story that had me smiling and crying at different moments.Clara Purdy lives in Saskatchewan and while driving home gets into an accident with a young family Clara lives alone, her mother having passed away and is in What a perfect book Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott is It reminded me of books I read back during my university years when I took my Canadian Lit course books like Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O Mitchell or Why Shoot the Teacher by Max Braithwaite It s a gentle, loving, caring story that had me smiling and crying at different moments.Clara Purdy lives in Saskatchewan and while driving home gets into an accident with a young family Clara lives alone, her mother having passed away and is in a rut When she goes to the hospital to check on the family, she discovers that the mother, Lorreine has to stay because they ve discovered she has cancer The family Lorreine, hubby Clayton, grandmother Mrs Pell and three kids Dolly, Trevor and Pearce are basically homeless, living in their van as they drive to find work.Clara makes a big decision and lets the family move into her house while Lorreine is in the hospital Clayton takes her mother s old car and leaves to find work somewhere and leaves Clary to fend with the rest That is the gist of the story and we follow Clary her nickname as she recreates herself, rearranging her home to accommodate them all, learn to live a life with children she is a divorcee who never had the chance to have children of her own and all the things that entails.It s a rich, wonderful story The book is peopled with a wonderful cast of characters, starting with the lovely Clary The kids are great as they try to adjust to living with her, trying to cope with their mother s illness Grandma Pel is a cantankerous old biddy but a great character Lorreine is brave, hard put Her brother Darwin shows up, moving in with Clara and is fantastic, looking after his sister, helping Clary, recreating her home And you ve got so many others, the local priest, Paul, trying to cope with divorce and finding solace with this strange put together family I could go on her neighbour, Mrs Zenko, who helps so much and Clary s sister Grace, her hubby Morland and their daughter, Fern There is something about them all to love and cherish.The story is so well written, and it draws you in I wanted it to end a certain way, but it took a twist at the end and then another I can t recommend this bookIt s a must read Beautiful story and characters 5 stars Had been wanting to read this for a few years, and picked it up at the library for 1 What a deal It kept me engrossed the whole way through It s about a small town Saskatchewan woman who causes an accident with a down on their luck family of 5 and winds up taking in the couple s three children when the Mother is suddenly hospitalized with cancer Sounds depressingand the themes of loneliness, longing for human connection, mortality, illness and the cleavages between us that are often defi Had been wanting to read this for a few years, and picked it up at the library for 1 What a deal It kept me engrossed the whole way through It s about a small town Saskatchewan woman who causes an accident with a down on their luck family of 5 and winds up taking in the couple s three children when the Mother is suddenly hospitalized with cancer Sounds depressingand the themes of loneliness, longing for human connection, mortality, illness and the cleavages between us that are often defined by classare not the most uplifting But the writing is superb, and the characters so well drawn that I did not want the novel to end It also has an element of suspenseyou are never quite sure if the change in Clara s life will be permanent or if Lorraine will recover and take back her family In the end, the novel expertly reveals the complicated nature of all people, and the way a community can be created out of disparate parts It also explores the motives, selfish and otherwise, that push us to do good All that in one simple bookand there s even a bit of romance I thought it was a mesmerizing, subtle, and powerful meditation on the human condition Pretty much what I look for in a book The cancer card trumps everything, protagonist Clara Purdy ruminates, and that sums up the premise of this novel Throw this dreadful desease into the midst of any family unit functional or dysfunctional and everyone is afflicted, conflicted, guilt ridden and exposed, not just the patient Many outcomes are also possible the patient can die, the patient can survive, the marriage may crumble, new romances may flourish, wisdom may arrive, and everyone is changed tools for the writer s arsen The cancer card trumps everything, protagonist Clara Purdy ruminates, and that sums up the premise of this novel Throw this dreadful desease into the midst of any family unit functional or dysfunctional and everyone is afflicted, conflicted, guilt ridden and exposed, not just the patient Many outcomes are also possible the patient can die, the patient can survive, the marriage may crumble, new romances may flourish, wisdom may arrive, and everyone is changed tools for the writer s arsenal of possible endings, and Endicott skillfully uses them all.That said, the reader has to wade through a neverendum of domesticity to get to the end changing diapers, feeding the baby, bathing and clothing the children, cleaning the house, cooking meals, going to the supermarket, treating lice, getting the flu, avoiding child molesters, looking after the batty mother in law etc etc I found very little literature in all this Is literature supposed to be an exact copy of real life The author has the nerve to subject the reader to all this domestic detail the stuff we want to get away from by burying our noses in a novel but there is no relief in this book, I caution you , all the while giving us snippets of a plot line that moves at the slow but steady pace of a tortoise Endicott must enjoy the trust and confidence of a publisher who is willing to wait for the twist which is normally expected on page 1 wannabe writers please note but in this case happens around page 300, when the consequences of all Clara s good actions come home to roost.There are a lot of good people in this book, ever willing to put their busy lives on hold to hover around a sick person and her family, and the bad guys are just poor, that s why they are bad All these good and bad forces converge upon Clara who is selfishly trying to find fulfillment in her empty life and accepts the burden of instant single parenthood,guest invasion, home renovation, loss of both her cars, unemployment, becoming care giver to a cancer patient and the lover to a priest all in a few swell swoops over a couple of months Boy,does she know how to pack it in Overworked single parents may find this book cathartic their lives can t be anyhectic or worse than poor Clara s.Clara and Lorraine the cancer patient, are well drawn and contrasted against the baddies Clayton and his mother Mrs Pell Darlene Dolly , Lorraine s daughter is the ever watchful eye but does not morph into a rounded character perhaps children in their formative years are not expected to The other characters were shapeless voices to me and the poor pastor is definitely a wimp if the author expected that outcome of Rev Paul, she definitely achieved it The constantly shifting POV was distracting at times and the prose did not flow well in the places when it was written to reflect inner thoughts of the characters.The ending however redeemed the novel when the final plot point dropped and made reading the book through to its conclusion worthwhile This is a novel about what I will call, wanting a better phrase, the extraordinary ordinary, about the lengths to which people go and the barriers that prevent them from going further It is a book for adults, full of the complexities of the intersections of life, love, religion, ethics, etc I realize I could be writing about any good novel, not just this one, but there is nothing exotic or strange about the premise of this story, which is a car accident and its aftermath, nothing exotic or str This is a novel about what I will call, wanting a better phrase, the extraordinary ordinary, about the lengths to which people go and the barriers that prevent them from going further It is a book for adults, full of the complexities of the intersections of life, love, religion, ethics, etc I realize I could be writing about any good novel, not just this one, but there is nothing exotic or strange about the premise of this story, which is a car accident and its aftermath, nothing exotic or strange about the characters, all of whom are recognizably human and accordingly a mix of virtues, strengths, weaknesses, etc The scenes are well painted and change frequently enough to keep the limited action of the novel moving along What I think I liked best about the novel is the fact that the author quite consciously puts the reader in the position of a god looking down on the lives of these many protagonists, and clearly thinks any god worth a damn would not only forgive all of them, but invite them in for tea, or maybe a beer What an original theme, exploring what it is to be good I don t think I ve heard of a book that touches on this particular concept, at least not in contemporary literature I usually have such conflicting thoughts and feelings toward Giller nominees, but I can safely say I understand why this book was shortlisted Endicott has clearly mastered point of view, and her transitions between voices are seamless I didn t like Clara at first but it s clear we re not supposed to, that she s supposed to What an original theme, exploring what it is to be good I don t think I ve heard of a book that touches on this particular concept, at least not in contemporary literature I usually have such conflicting thoughts and feelings toward Giller nominees, but I can safely say I understand why this book was shortlisted Endicott has clearly mastered point of view, and her transitions between voices are seamless I didn t like Clara at first but it s clear we re not supposed to, that she s supposed to seem as needy and desperate as she does But then she becomes three dimensional, just as everyone else does, and it s so beautifully subtle the reader doesn t know it s happening until it already has I don t think the last 100 pages could have been handled anyskilfully For such a quiet book, I found myself on the edge of my seat throughout those last pages Would Clara and Paul find each other again Would Clayton leave again The suspense was strangely subtle, which I think is just another testament to the author s great skill.All in all, a great title A deliciously painful read, even An okay book The story line was great but the writing lacked oompf Too slow and lazy.From back cover In a moment of self absorption, Clara Purdy s life takes a sharp left turn when she crashes into a beat up car carrying an itinerant family of six The Gage family had been travelling to a new life in Fort McMurray, but bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late stage cancer rather than remnants of the accident Recognizing their need as her responsibility, Clara tries to do the right t An okay book The story line was great but the writing lacked oompf Too slow and lazy.From back cover In a moment of self absorption, Clara Purdy s life takes a sharp left turn when she crashes into a beat up car carrying an itinerant family of six The Gage family had been travelling to a new life in Fort McMurray, but bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late stage cancer rather than remnants of the accident Recognizing their need as her responsibility, Clara tries to do the right thing and moves the children, husband and horrible grandmother into her own house then has to cope with the consequences of practical goodness.What, exactly, does it mean to be good When is sacrifice merely selfishness What do we owe in this life and what do we deserve Marina Endicott looks at life and death through the compassionate lens of a born novelist being good, being at fault, and finding some balance on the precipice In a moment of self absorption, Clara Purdy s life takes a sharp left turn when she crashes into a beat up car carrying an itinerant family of six The Gage family had been travelling to a new life in Fort McMurray, but bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late stage cancer rather than remnants of the accident Recognizing their need as her responsibility, Clara tries to do the right thing and moves the children, husband and horrible grandmother into her own house then has to cope with the consequences of practical goodnessAs Lorraine walks the borders of death, Clara expands into life, finding purpose, energy and unexpected love amidst the hard, unaccustomed work of sharing her days But the burden is not Clara s alone Lorraine s children must cope with divided loyalties and Lorraine must live with her growing, unpayable debt to Clara and the feeling that Clara has taken her placeWhat, exactly, does it mean to be good When is sacrifice merely selfishness What do we owe in this life and what do we deserve Marina Endicott looks at life and death through the compassionate lens of a born novelist being good, being at fault, and finding some balance on the precipice Wasn t great The characters were kind of boring after the middle of the book and it was painful to try and get through The story was kind of bland there was no spark that made me want to keep reading it The characters were in this constant state of mourning depression and the only character that had any passion fire was the mother, and she was made to be irritating and horrid woman I thought this was going to be better than it was Dissappointing. In a very convoluted way, Good to a Fault reminded me of one of the sub plots in the book, Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane As Clara Purdy robotically examines her mundane life, she subconsciously wonders what she has accomplished Unfortunately, her meandering thoughts while driving create a bit of a predicament as she accidentally collides with another vehicle containing a down and out family whose vehicle was their primary residence.Who is at fault is debatable, but Clara quickly scrambles In a very convoluted way, Good to a Fault reminded me of one of the sub plots in the book, Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane As Clara Purdy robotically examines her mundane life, she subconsciously wonders what she has accomplished Unfortunately, her meandering thoughts while driving create a bit of a predicament as she accidentally collides with another vehicle containing a down and out family whose vehicle was their primary residence.Who is at fault is debatable, but Clara quickly scrambles to the hospital to ensure that the mother and baby s injuries are minor, and therein lays the quandary The Gage family quietly perplexed by Clara s visit, views her genuine concern as an unnecessary intrusion while Clayton the infuriating father , immediately manipulates the wretched situation to his advantage Lorraine the ambivalent mother appears to be in worse health than a mere fender bender Meanwhile, others to consider include Mrs Pell Clayton s cantankerous mother , Darlene the shrewd daughter , Trevor the ingenuous son , and Pierce the precious baby boy.A homeless family, a Good Samaritan, and unpredictably thought provoking outcomes offer a profoundly compelling read Marina Endicott s stimulating scenarios left me questioning the ulterior motives of goodness and of mercy


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