Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners

by Gretchen Anthony | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0778307867 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 11/23/2018
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, November 23, 2018
I got this softcover from an online seller after seeing it recommended in the AskAManager.org advice blog. It's themed around a family's annual holiday letter, as real life tends to veer away from the idealized version...

The viewpoint shifts between that of Violet - the matriarch and the crafter of the annual holiday letters; Cerise, Violet's adult daughter, happily partnered with Barb; and Richard, a neighbor whose wife is (supposedly) a close friend of Violet's. The annual holiday letters appear every few chapters, and provide flashbacks to the Baumgartner family's situation over decades - sometimes to jarring effect.

The tone overall is funny/exasperating, with control-freak Violet going to bizarre lengths to get her way. I kept wanting to drag all the characters over to my favorite advice columns about boundary-setting, but I suppose that would have rendered the book unnecessary {wry grin}. While I often felt the urge to smack Violet, she did wind up having more depth than I'd expected, and Cerise and Barb did a marvelous job of fending off her increasingly desperate attempts to learn who the sperm donor was for their baby. (I'd guessed it at once, but Violet didn't get it until she'd gone to ludicrous lengths, including inviting some of Cerise's old high school classmates to a dinner in hopes of spotting a resemblance to the baby. Yeah... just when you think a family holiday couldn't get any worse!)

There are other subplots, including Violet's husband Ed coping with life after retirement - he turns out to be a lovely fellow, able to deal with Violet at her worst and to help out Richard, who has struggles of his own.

But most of the fun is in the descriptions of Violet's attempts to control every single thing she's involved in (and quite a few things she really has no business with); her manipulations reminded me of E. F. Benson's marvelous Mapp and Lucia stories.

There are a number of revelations here, some via the early-installment holiday letters and one huge one only coming up near the end of the book - that one tipped a lot of my expectations, and added a refreshing note to the story. I enjoyed this one.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Pickity Place in Mason, New Hampshire USA on Monday, December 24, 2018

Released 6 mos ago (12/24/2018 UTC) at Pickity Place in Mason, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I plan to leave this book at Pickity Place while stopping by with family for one of their marvelous lunches. Hope someone enjoys the book!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2018 December Holiday release challenge. ***

Journal Entry 3 by Sarah-Burke at Mason, New Hampshire USA on Monday, December 24, 2018
I found this book on a bench after having lunch at Pickity Place today (Christmas Eve) and I’m really excited to read it and pass it onto someone else! Hopefully it’s able to travel far and be read by many! NH -> MA :)

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