Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.
With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.
I am going to give this book a solid 4 star rating! I liked it! It probably isn't going to be one of those books that I will remember for the rest of my life, but it is a book that made an impact on me while reading it. For more than one reason.
First of all this story is about a family who experienced a horrific event early in their lives (much as my family did). We learn how this event affected each of them differently. Somewhere in the book I read that as kids we discover we are what we remember!! And, we are what we don't remember!! How profound is that? My brothers and sister have memories from our childhood that I didn't remember the same way they did. I always thought there was something wrong with me. But there isn't. I just don't remember things the way they remember because I was affected differently. AND THAT IS ALRIGHT! Each of us compensated for these memories in our own adult lives.
The second thing I learned while reading this book is how it must feel to be a refuge, from a foreign country, coming to America. We think of how we feel about them. Never have I thought how they must feel about me. We are mad because they are coming to our country. Well, they are mad because they have to leave their country. And their homes. And their families, their traditions, their ways. Won't it be wonderful if we can all find a way to be more accepting?
The story is about 3 adult children who are brought together when the son of one of them tosses a frozen pig's head into a Muslim mosque. The Burgess boys are lawyers and they need to try to help their nephew get out of this bit of trouble. Every single one of these adult children are living with their own demons. I didn't like brother Jim one dang bit. Until the very end of the book when we discover that what happened early in their lives probably affected him the most. The story ends without clearly defined endings, but it left me feeling good for this family!
I am hoping all of us will learn something from reading this book!
I'm going to work on doing just that!