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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Good Housekeeping Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” wrote The New Yorker on the publication of her Pulitzer Prize–winning Olive Kitteridge. The San Francisco Chronicle praised Strout’s “magnificent gift for humanizing characters.” Now the acclaimed author return…

The Burgess Boys

by Elizabeth Strout

Overall Book Review:

More than a story within a story, this book tells a tale of a family struggling to live in a town that has been invaded by foreigners. The Burgess family has endured a lot of grief, although the reader is never told outright exactly what kind of tragedy occurred. Whatever “accident” happened, it is obvious that the characters each carry their own load of guilt, and this guilt might even be echoing down through the generations to affect a teen who isn’t old enough to remember what his family history holds.

This story is at times narrated by members of the Burgess family, and at others by the enemies this family encounters. Elizabeth Strout does a wonderful job of portraying each character in a positive light, even though at times it seems easier to view them negatively. I found myself sympathizing with each of the characters in turn, as they were so real and well-formed. I can’t really tell of a specific reason why I enjoyed this book so much, but I did enjoy it. Sometimes I read a book and want to rave about it, but I can’t find the words to say anything that would really do it justice. I found The Burgess Boys to be just such a book. This is a wonderful story that was just the right length to keep my full attention. If you are looking for a well-written book to read, why not give this one a try?


Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  10 religious exclamations; 15 mild obscenities; 3 derogatory names; 6 scatological words; 2 anatomical terms; 17 F-Word derivatives.

Violence/Gore: A boy is presumed dead and/or suicidal; physical and verbal abuse is mentioned several times; a boy is rumored to kill his father; a man is accused of abusing his wife; violence in war described briefly, no blood or gore is mentioned; a man is mentioned to have comitted suicide.

Sex/Nudity: Child porn is referenced, no detail is given; a man briefly describes a naked woman’s body in a sexual way; a man cheats on his wife, this is mentioned multiple times; a rape is mentioned but not described in any detail; women talk about sex and their desire for it; male characters referred to as “sexy”; a man is accused of sexual harassment; adults kiss multiple times.

Mature Subject Matter:

Divorce, infidelity, war, racism.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Marijuana use mentioned; adult drug use is mentioned; adults drink; adults smoke.

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
10
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
5
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
5
10

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.