This book, by Michael Cunningham, first published in 1990, took the author six years to write and took me just two days to read on my kindle. It was a slow-paced, but never draggy read.  In the words of the Los Angeles Times reviewer’s words, “We come to know [Johnathan, Bobby, and Clare] as if we lived with them, yet each one retains the mystery called…soul and in fiction is called art.” The novel redefines the concept of “family” and gives us an inside look at the AIDS epidemic, perhaps assigning the reader a new compassion for those personally affected by it. It deals with the commonplace but “makes the familiar strange and the strange familiar” (Ciardi) , giving this reader a whole new insight on the era.

One person whose outcome I was totally satisfied with was Alice, Johnathan’s mother. She was an unsatisfied, unhappy woman, trapped in a loveless marriage, then a widow, during the course of the novel. Although the ending, for all the characters, was not a totally happy one, this reader found it a satisfying conclusion to the life questions and personal quests of the three major characters.  In all, it was a good read.


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.


  1. Thank you for a really great review, Rae. To be honest, if the book is going to have any sense of realism, then not all the characters are going to find the outcome suits them, are they? Hope you are continuing on the road to recovery, by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My recovery is coming along swimmingly! I am expecting a “company call” today from a friend who just wants to get away from her house and the kids who are off from school for Spring Break later today. I have plenty of coffee and “special” cookies…something to break up the mutiny of convalescing and lift my spirits.
      You are right about the outcomes suiting the characters. I never demand a “happy ending” (as does My Better Half ), but I do demand a satisfying one, maybe with a ray of hope at the sad ending.

      Liked by 1 person

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