“The Children” by Ann Leary

A family dramaedy with quirky, lovable members written with real human flaws to make the characters seem believable. There is the multimillionaire father who is so cheap he never uses money.  He barters for just about all his needs. His second wife who never worked a day in her life but will spend hours talking about her accomplishments is most likely a borderline hoarder. Her two grown daughters; one is agoraphobic and the other is bipolar.  Both are adored by their stepfather.  They lived with him most of their lives.  The father’s two grown sons are jealous of their stepsister’s relationship with their father.  Throw in a tragedy or two and basically we have a typical dysfunctional 2016 family.

Here is the question, after the father dies, who owns the once glorious but now more than just a mess, clutter filled lakeside home and grounds?  Technically the stepbrothers do but how to you politely kick out your stepmom and stepsisters? The youngest brother has the harder time with the situation. He was a baby at the time of his parents’ divorce and has a strong bond with his stepmom.  She considers him the son she never had.   In steps the evil fiancé of the youngest brother and all hell, even worse than usual, breaks loose.

Some scenes were hilarious. The book is narrated by the younger sister.  She gets paid by a diaper company to write a mommy blog.  Of course she is not a mother and is desperately trying to stop her followers from creating a “go fund me” for her disabled nonexistent son.  Other times I felt that the author was stretching to be funny.  I didn’t think the lakeside burglar known as Mr. Clean (he breaks into your home and leaves it spotless) was needed. Or maybe it was just one too many odd characters?  All in all a really fun summer read that will also have you thinking about your own family’s dynamics.

Publisher: St. Martin Press

Publication date: May, 24, 2016



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