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All My Puny Sorrows - Sisters and the strong bond they share is the theme in this book

One wants to end her life and the other wants to save her and give her a reason to live.

All My Puny Sorrows book cover

All My Puny Sorrows, Miriam Toews

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2014, 321 pages

“It was my father and my sister who constantly beseeched my mother and me to read more, to find succor for life in books, to soothe our aches and pains with words and more words.”

Sometimes a downer of a story about dealing with a family member’s multiple attempted suicides and simultaneously the death of another family member is somewhat lightened by the strong relationship between two sisters. The book focuses on an internationally famous pianist Elfrieda’s (Elf) desire to die and her sister Yolandi’s (Yoli) struggle and determination to make her want to live. The story is told solely from Yoli’s viewpoint. I felt I understood and empathized with these characters and their family dynamics – spouse, parents, relatives.

“He was bailing, or pulling the plug, or cutting me loose, something watery like that.”

Although the story was good, the biggest drawback for me was the writing style. There were no quotation marks indicating someone was speaking. Instead, everything was, she said no she couldn’t…he asked me to… There weren’t any normal sounding conversations between people. I found it awkward and ultimately annoying.

#generalfiction #familyrelationships #3stars (click on a hashtag for similar books)

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