Monday, November 16, 2015
Book Review: Home by Marilynne Robinson
Author: Marilynne Robinson
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Content Alert: A clean read
Home is the second installment in Marilynne Robinson's trilogy about Gilead, Iowa, although it takes place concurrently with Gilead. I read it third, and probably loved it the most. Glory, one of the youngest of Reverend Robert Boughton's many children, has left her job as a schoolteacher to care for her ailing father. Shortly after Glory returns, her brother Jack, the lone prodigal, also comes home. The two siblings, the spinster and the rake (as their father sees them, and as they've come to see themselves) have to sort out problems in their own lives and shepherd their father through his final days.
For me, Home is all about the assumptions people make in families and tight-knit communities-- Glory and Jack have known each other all their lives, and it's hard for anyone to see them in new and different ways. Glory can never tell anyone about the fiance who turned out to be married. Jack never opens up about what it means to be in love with a black woman and the father of a biracial in the American South in the 1950s. Reverend Ames, a much more prominent character in Gilead and Lila, the other books in the trilogy, never learns to see Jack as anything other than a ne'er do well, even though he's gone through transformative experiences with people in his own life. The ending of this book is both profoundly beautiful and sad. Robinson's beautiful writing and thoughtful Christianity make Home a book to be savored.