The Most Fun We Ever Had
This book is one of the truest depictions of a family I’ve ever read—the roles assigned, the itchiness to break free from those roles, the pull of family conflicting with the need to create a new version of ourselves. Four sisters, two seemingly perfect parents, and a surprise relative or two with narratives so sharp and concise I felt like I knew every character from the bone marrow out. Brilliant, funny, and provocative.
The Joy Luck Club
You can’t talk about multigenerational books without mentioning the queen of the genre, Amy Tan. In this book, four Chinese immigrant women get together each week to share memories, frustrations, and heartache while their daughters struggle to shed their culture and assimilate, only to learn how important their heritage is to them as they mature. A seminal novel about what it means to leave a culture behind and preserve what matters in a new country.
A completely unique, brilliant story of two families and the issues they encounter over 60 years. Told in vignette style through the eyes of many of the characters, each unique and fascinating, Ms. Porter takes an unflinching look at the hardest issues of our society—racism, bigotry, privilege, war, classism, orientation—and makes us care deeply about the fate of these characters.
Life and Other Inconveniences
Life and Other Inconveniences is a story of the London family, four generations dealing with the myriad issues of their complicated past and present. Genevieve, now 85, finds herself dealing with unexpected regret as she faces the end of her life, and calls back her wayward granddaughter, Emma, whom she banished when Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Now the mother of a teenager, Emma’s reluctant to come home, but her daughter needs a respite from her own issues. Against the backdrop of a magnificent house on the water, the summer will be full of old wounds and new realizations, forgiveness, and a deeper understanding of how loss and love define a life, in all its messy, difficult, beautiful, heart-wrenching glory.
Stories of multigenerational families have always been fascinating to me—the different standards, expectations, and realities all coming together under one roof. The following books are among the best I’ve come across. I hope you’ll love them, too.
Featured Image: @agathabijou; Author Photo: Deborah Feingold