The basics: The Burgess Boys is about three adult siblings from Maine. Jim and Bob now live in Brooklyn, but Susan remains in the town where they grew up. When Susan's son Zack gets in trouble, she turns to her brothers for help.
My thoughts: What I liked most about Olive Kitteridge was Olive herself. Strout has a way of developing characters beautifully, and The Burgess Boys begin with detailed glimpses into each of the Burgesses, plus Jim's wife. The set up was glorious. I devoured Strout's writing and character building and could not bear to put this novel down. After all this set up, I was ultimately disappointed. The last half of the book fell flat for me and was laborious to get through. The plot meandered and the characters who seemed so richly developed, complicated and intriguing in the first half became less fascinating and often dull. Although the second half was both unsatisfying and not enjoyable, I still am fond of the first half of this novel. I wish that charm and fascination could have carried through the rest of the novel too.
The verdict: Strout's beautifully detailed prose and richly developed characters weren't enough to salvage the meandering second half of this novel for me.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Length: 337 pages
Publication date: March 26, 2013
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