Ordinary People by Judith Guest
I read this book when it was first published in 1976. At that time I was in my twenties, with two young children, a very different person than I am today. When my book group chose it for our May selection. I wondered if I would see it differently now. Whether I would like it less. If it would hold up--so many books don't quite. I also wondered if the movie, which I have seen at least twice, would be too dominant.Would Mary Tyler Moore's, Donald Sutherland, Judd Hirsch and Timothy Hutton's portrayals overwhelm Guest's
I am only more impressed with this, a first novel, than I was almost forty years ago.
The Jarrets have suffered the loss of one son and the near-death of another. Con is recently home from a facility that helped him cope with his suicide attempt. He is blessed with an extraordinary father, Cal, but his mother, Beth, is distant, cold. He no longer is a good fit with his friends, mostly high school swimmers either. He finally agrees to see a counselor, a man who he has immediate rapport with. This is the story of the months following his return home. The writing is perfect. I can't remember last reading a book where one page flowed from the last so easily. It's not a page turner in the traditional sense--but you become so involved in Cal's plight that you need to see him succeed. Highly recommended.
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