by Ann Patchett

Debbie Weiss (12/07/11): I have been reading a lot of Ann Patchett books lately because I think she is an excellent writer and I enjoy all her story lines. I really loved "Bel Canto" and "State of Wonder," but I must admit that "Run" was a little disappointing. The story line was interesting --- how two families become intimately involved with one another after an accident on a snowy night. I just felt like the progression of the story was rather predictable and the characters were a little flat. Something seemed to be missing.

As a parent, I appreciated seeing how Bernard Doyle continually tried to push his interest in politics onto his sons, assuming that they would have the same interests as he. One immediately liked him and felt as though he was a good father who loved his family very much. I guess the underlying themes of the book were family ties and parental love.
Rating: ***

Anne Ferber: Ms Patchett took six years to write another novel after her masterpiece Bel Canto and that is understandable. This novel is also well written, but the scope is much smaller and yet generates much stimulus for thought.

Bernard Doyle is a local Boston politician, white-- and a devoted family man. He and his beloved wife have one son and learn that they are unable to have more children, so they adopt two young brothers, who happen to be black, to complete their family. Unfortunately, they must endure the tragic loss of mother/wife less than four years after the adoption, due to cancer. Now Bernard takes on the tough task of being both mother and father to his boys and his ambitions for them are great.

This book does not focus on the transracial aspect of this family, but more on the opportunities afforded a financially secure environment as opposed to one with less material resources. On a snowy night a tragic accident brings together two families, who have difficulty comprehending their common backgrounds. They each behave, generally, in accordance with their better angels, but the accompanying internal struggle is present as well. In an interesting interview, Ms Patchett notes that her books, although quite diverse in subject matter, are all about one thing: What happens when a group of strangers are thrown together? What is our responsibility to strangers, and whom do we love and take in as family? These questions are certainly worth thinking about, in my opinion.
Rating: ****

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