Count the Ways, a review by Di

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COUNT THE WAYS
Joyce Maynard

William Morrow
July 13, 2021
468 pages

I have been a fan of Joyce Maynard for a few years. This book did not disappoint.

Count The Ways is a family story… Eleanor is the main character and we follow her life from her adolescence to well into middle age. It is not a fast paced book, it is not full of action. But it is full of family life from beginning to end.

As a child, Eleanor did not have a wonderful family life. Her parents were obsessed with each other and alcohol. She vowed to give her children the life that she did not have. This was the focus of her life as her children were born.

But, it did not always work out. There was a tragedy involving the youngest child which changed the trajectory of the story. The characters were far from perfect. But, to me, they were realistic. Family life and relationships are not always sunshine and rainbows. Some things can be fixed and some things cannot. And sometimes it takes a long time to fix things.

There are many relevant issues/themes covered. Me Too, transgender, infidelity among the ones that stand out. Mistakes are made as are questionable decisions. Sometimes I wanted to yell at one or another of the characters. I always love it when the setting in a book becomes a character.

The farm that Eleanor buys in early adulthood is a character in the story. It plays an important part in everyone’s lives. It becomes a haven for everyone.

For those readers of a certain age, there are many historical factors mentioned that we remember. There is the death of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett on the same day. The Tragedy of the Challenger explosion and the loss of the astronauts. Many songs of the time are playing in the background.

There is not much else I can say without doing a recap of the book or without giving away plot points.

The only possible negative (and I may be stretching for this) is the length of the book. Even though I became immersed in every bit of this story as I lived the lives along with the family, I think that with a bit more editing there could have knocked off a few pages from the length.

But, in my mind it is definitely a 5 star story!

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