COMMONWEALTH by Ann Patchett: A Review

This 2016 bestseller ties for second place on my list of ” Favorite Books Published in 2016″ (ties with The Swans of Fifth Avenue), after Gentleman in Moscow (reviewed in an earlier post), which still claims first place.  It was so good that I made time to read it and finished in two days.  The book begins in California and is also set in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the states where I was born and raised in, respectively.  Maybe it was because of this “personal connection”, or more likely the denseness of characters and plot  that I became hooked by the end of the first few chapters.

We meet Beverly and “Fix” as the novel opens with the “…dissolution of their marriage and the joining of two families.” This connecting of families through marriage and caused by divorce creates a “tribe” of children, four girls, two boys, the Cousinses and the Keatings, and the book carries these characters through the next fifty years. There is much intertwining of plot and relationships, and this intrigues the reader as he/she progresses through the novel. All of the characters are memorable; I couldn’t choose a favorite because the author makes me feel attached to and care about every one of them.

Perhaps I enjoyed Commonwealth so much because I am especially fond of character-driven novels, but I suspect the main reason was because of Patchett’s great writing abilities.  I highly recommend this novel.


Author: Rae Longest

This year marks my fiftieth year in AAUW (American Association of University Women). The Alvin chapter was begun in 1947, and as a new, green teacher to Alvin Independent School District, I joined in 1968. In the 80's we began a book group to share our love of reading, books,and fellowship with other women and girls who loved the same. We resurrected the group on-line in September of 2015. Eventually Powerful Women Readers folded as an on-line book club, but I kept the title and turned it into a blog. (See "Introduction,"first blog). This is my first experience at blogging or publishing anything and is becomes more fun with each blog posted. I am currently teaching as an adjunct at The University of Houston Clear Lake. This makes my 28th year there after three years at Alvin Community College and an almost-twenty year career as a classroom teacher with Alvin Independent School District. Reading and writing are "in my blood" just like teaching is. I hope you enjoy the blog.

6 thoughts on “COMMONWEALTH by Ann Patchett: A Review”

  1. I asked for this for Christmas because I felt like it was similar in style and tone to the one I’d just finished writing. I can’t wait to start it next week (finishing something else this week). Thanks for the review. Will come back to finish reading this post again when done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Be sure and let me know when you finish “the one you just finished writing”. I will definitely buy a copy. I love reading young(er) writers and especially if it’s a debut novel. Is it?


  2. Go all the way down to the Introduction to see how a bunch of ladies who were concerned about literacy (theirs and others) got this on-line book group (PWR) started. We’re about to have a get together at my house for a book discussion (and food and fellowship, of course); we’d break the “women only” rule for a nice guy like you. Wish you lived nearby! Ha!


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