Finished August 24, 2009
I listened to this book on the way to Memphis and on the way back. Elinor Lipman also wrote the wonderful The Inn at Lake Divine and the excellent And Then She Found Me.
This book is narrated by Fredrica Hatch, the daughter of two Sixties radical Social Science professors (David and Aviva). She grew up living in the dorm at Dewing College, a small Massachusetts women's college, where her parents are also House Parents to the girls of Griggs Hall.
The plot is ignited by the arrival of Laura Lee, David Hatch's ex-wife. Laura Lee has become the Dorm Mother of another residence hall. From there the plot takes off with complication after complication. Conversations between Fredrica, her parents, Laura Lee, Father Ralph and other great characters make up a large part of the story and carries the plot along. David and Aviva encourage open communication in the family. Fredrica saves the reader from wondering what motivates this character or that. She simply asks, "Why did you...?"
I don't easily get hooked by a book-on-tape. In fact, before starting this one, I had tried listening to one called The Tea House on Mulberry Street. I thought for certain I'd like it because it was set in Ireland and involved quirky characters. I couldn't get much past the first chapter or two. It seemed that the book was only a collection of quirky characters. In contrast, Lipman's book involved wonderfully quirky characters and an actual plot!
I've got to read some more Elinor Lipman books. She's 3 for 3 !
Well... maybe she's three for three. I think I started reading another of her books and didn't finish. Or I did read it and don't remember much about it. It was The Pursuit of Alice Thrift. I'll have to check that one out again.