Modern Lit: Home, by Marilynne Robinson

3.0 out of 5 stars Minority opinion

After listening to this audio book, and having read many  eloquent and glowing reviews about Home, I can only conclude that I’ve missed something. A story of relationships – father/son, brother/sister, pastor/parishioner – Home tells of Jack Boughton’s attempt to come home again, to remake himself into the man his father wants him to be. Jack is clearly a very vulnerable, psychologically damaged individual, and after learning the details of his upbringing by a self-absorbed, preachy icon of a father, I can understand why. Glory is a good woman, but her own life has been barren, probably as a result of her upbringing as well. Two more guilt-ridden people would be hard to find. Both middle aged, and they are still afraid to reveal their true (“sinful”) selves to Poppa, or Sir, as Jack prefers to call him.

This family drama, which is certainly a worthy subject, could do with less redundancy. The repetition of the words “I’m sorry”, “very kind”, and “Yes” alone contributes to some of the monotony.

So my interpretation is not of one of family reconciliation, but of sheer survival, and of pathological emotional repression. I certainly glimpsed little of the unconditional love that is supposed to infuse this book. We must not disappoint Poppa.

This version of Home was narrated by Maggi-Meg Reed, whose reading is rather expressionless and bland.

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