Clock Dance

Clock Dance

by Anne Tyler

Overview: Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother's sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn't sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she's never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory--surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places. A bewitching novel of hope, self-discovery, and second chances, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.

Deanna Boe (02/03/19): Anne Tyler is a well known author and has a loyal following it seems. Since I had never read any of her books I felt it was time. Unfortunately, this might not have been the novel to try. Only after reading it did I read other reviews to see if I was the one who was off-kilter in my feelings about her writing. This is one of those books where the ratings go from great to horrible. Is it because her followers have always liked her writing in the past and thus overlook this strange story?

The main character is Willa Drake. When she was young, her mother left her husband and her two daughters, Willa then became the “woman” of the house doing all she could to keep the household going and making her father and younger sister happy. She marries in college and gives up her chance to graduate. Her husband dies and leaves her a fairly young widow who needs to support her family. Somewhere along the line she marries again, once more devoting herself to his happiness. At the age of 60 she receives a phone call from a stranger who tells her that she has a granddaughter that she knew nothing about and would she come please take care of her because this neighbor could no longer do it. The supposedly granddaughter’s mother was in the hospital after someone accidentally shot her in the leg. Willa is excited to think she might have a granddaughter and the granddaughter is also excited to think she has a grandmother. Willa leaves Arizona and flies to the east coast to take care of this granddaughter. Her husband feels she shouldn’t go alone and flies with her. Even though they find out this child has no relationship to her, she stays on, with her husband eventually returning to Arizona. Her son, for all basic purposes, has nothing to do with her, he had moved out months ago and is going to marry another woman he had met in this old neighborhood. There are some interesting neighbors in this neighborhood where the “granddaughter” lives, but that isn’t enough to “save” this book.
Rating: **

Faith Bowers (01/12/19): Though the story takes on a personal history of Willa Drake, you do not put all the pieces together until she stays on at Cheryl and Denise’s home to assist Denise after the shooting of her leg. Her parents do have a strong effect on her life as an adult as she really is stuck in having a man in control which is based on her childhood.

Tyler skips over her independent life after husband number 1 dies. I loved that I knew how it was going to end in the last part. I liked all the characters in Baltimore . They were the first characters in the book to not be one dimensional. I have liked all of Anne Tyler’s books now. When she first started writing, I think I was too young to appreciate her stories.
Rating: ***

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