“Count the Ways” by Joyce Maynard

Genre: Domestic Fiction/Coming of AgeCount The Ways
Publisher: William Morrow and Custom House
Pub. Date: July 13, 2021

A domestic saga set in the 1970s and 1980s that goes back and forth between past and present.  The novel opens with our protagonist Eleanor, returning to the farm she once found, owned, and lived on as mother and wife, before her divorce and life tore the family apart. In trying to be a good mother, she loses everything. The occasion for the return is the wedding of Al, Eleanor’s firstborn, who is a transgender man.  Eleanor’s past is a painful one. Her present day captures both suffering and joy. The pacing is swift and the plot turns seem authentic as the family evolves. I did think the chapters were too long, sometimes with repeating themes.  However, the book is 464 pages and one could say it needed that many pages to digest all the hurt that included two tragedies in Eleanor’s life.

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