Posted 20 hours ago

A Friend of the Family: The addictive and emotionally satisfying page-turner that will have you hooked

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The book knits all these stories together and it leaves you with a warm feeling about being part of a family.

This one reminded me of a cross between Ralph's Party, the Making of Us and The House We Grew Up In so if you liked any of those I am sure you will like this one too! It's something a little bit different from the normal run of the mill with strong characters and an interesting story with a bit of a moral thrown in. I just love how Lisa Jewell feeds us tiny morsels at a time to keep our attention and curiosity so that we keep flicking those pages. The strangely diffuse characterized parents of these boys hosting a complete stranger who turns out to be a weirdo and a loser (LJ has a soft spot for losers), whose true intentions remain unclear, as it is also unclear why his advice is appreciated by anybody.This refreshing look into the inner workings of brothers is a huge leap forward and something I was thrilled to see. I still gave it 3 stars because in the end I kind of understood the story and thought it was kind of okay. He meets a girl on the job and they hit it off, but when Ned makes a move, she turns him down stating that he hasn't grown up yet. Someone will get pregnant, someone will be in love with his brother's girlfriend, and a "friend of the family" like a wandering angel, will be there to pick up the pieces, reflect their problems back at them, and teach them to grow up. The only criticism I have of A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY, is that a bit of the information about pregnancy was slightly inaccurate (such as she states that the pregnant character was unable to take any medications, not even Tylenol or a cough lozenge).

I didn’t realize at first it was released in 2004, which could have something to do with the difference in writing and style and even subject matter. The author does a great job describing the characters, so that you get a good rounded sense of each one and even wish you were a "friend of [their] family. Whilst we have a mysterious incomer to the family in the form of an unexpected lodger, the title of this one could mean any member of this family, are they actually looking out for one another or just playing it that way on the surface. It's just a nice, comforting (even with the slight every-day-drama included) story that you like to have there even if it's not mind blowing.

The female characters are only there as plot devices and to cause issues in the lives of the male characters. Also, I love the way Jewell tackles the subject of sibling rivalry with such insight, wit and poignancy. I think the only reason I finished is because I thought there must be some twist, some big ah-ha, but it was a waste. He does this thing where he holds their hands and looks deep into their eyes and they go all gooey inside and wind up spilling everything to him.

I loved Ralph's Party and Thirtysomething -- cute chick novels -- but her writing took some impressive proportions with One-Hit Wonder, and she has outdone herself with A Friend of the Family. Families can be funny things, so, I questioned sometimes about the individual support of each other; was this because they had to or because it was freely heartfelt given? Tony's struggles with weight and his role as oldest brother cause him to evaluate his life in multiple ways. I think I found myself siding with Ned a lot more than the other brothers because he had taken certain risks in his life that I admired although Toby did seem to be a support for every member of the family, including those who were related through relationships rather than by blood. So he sells his business, but not before giving Ned a high-paying, important job and tells him to stay in his flat while he's gone.Emotional familial relationships and enigmatic eccentric characters which show people are very much individuals but also part of the bigger picture that life throws us. Bernie takes in a mysterious lodger, Gervase, who seems to be able to get to the heart of the boys' troubles and helps the men to see things more clearly about themselves, but can he help them sort out their love lives?

Admittedly, I do prefer her newer material as it’s a lot more grittier, however her older books are lovely and have a real feel-good element to them. the story was kind of slow starting and before I finally was into the book I felt like forcing myself to read it.He was with his high school sweetheart for years until he meets a woman at a bar and decides to go off to Australia with her. You can easily read a chapter before bed, standing in line, waiting for the doctor, or on lunch break, thus keeping you interested and feeling like you're actually progressing through the book. It's only when a new person walks in and stirs things up that you really see how 3 grown men handle life, love and family.

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