the next good book

French Braid

By Anne Tyler


244 pages

What’s it about?

This is a book about family, about one family in particular, the Garretts of Baltimore, Maryland.  We see the Garretts from a distance through five generations.  Mercy and Robin have three children who could not be more different from each other.  As their children age they all seem to grow apart.  But can you ever really totally remove yourself from your family of origin?  At one point in the book family is compared to a french braid,  “That’s how families work, too. You think you’re free of them, but you’re never really free; the ripples are crimped in forever.”

What did it make me think about?

Families and the passage of time.

Should I read it?

This is quintessential Anne Tyler and you either enjoy her writing or you don’t.  I have always admired her books.  This novel seems to look at families from a longer lens than some of her earlier works, but I really enjoyed it.  Curling up with and Anne Tyler book is just easy and comfortable and yet she still gives you plenty to think about.  Motherhood and feminism are central ideas explored in this story but Anne Tyler is not heavy handed with her message so you could miss it completely. “The Accidental Tourist” was my first Anne Tyler novel and I have been picking up her books ever since.  I think you should too!


“Because of you’re going to do someone a favor, her father used to tell her, you might as well do it graciously.”

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