Friday, September 5, 2014

We Are Not Ourselves - Book Review

Eileen Tumulty is determined to have a better life. Growing up in Queens with her alcoholic parents, Eileen envisions a higher quality life for herself. She wants to own a house; provide a college education for her children. She wants a steady, supportive husband. Ed Leary seems the perfect man to help her fulfill her dreams. He's a bright star in science research with a lot of potential.

Eileen is a hardworking woman who always has her eye out for the next opportunity to rise. She encourages Ed in his own career but Ed seems content with his current station. Together and with their marked differences, Eileen and Ed will forge ahead with their marriage and family--facing the joys and tragedies of life.

Eileen is one of those unforgettable literary characters. She's wholly human and remarkable for doing the things that people do. She works hard. She cherishes her family. She gets frustrated. She mourns. She pulls herself up by the boot straps and does what is required of her. She makes hard choices. She makes mistakes. She repents. She keeps moving forward. She gives of herself. She resents it a little. She falls. She gets back up. She loves deeply. She lives.

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas is a hefty novel. Because of its length and not as much time to read lately, I spent more time reading it than I do most novels. I appreciated every minute I could spend with Eileen. She is inspirational and I grew to love this woman.

Every page is an exquisite and astute tribute to life. 

Reminding me of the beloved novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith in the beginning, We Are Not Ourselves soon transforms from a coming-of-age novel to a tender and graceful look at aging. As Eileen cares for Ed in their later years and as he suffers from Alzheimer's, the novel is empathetic and tragic while showing how a relationship can be strengthened especially in times of adversity. We Are Not Ourselves is an emotional journey. It is a lovely novel. A heartbreaking story. A powerful story. A gift.

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas was published by Simon and Schuster in August 2014.

**I received a complimentary copy of We Are Not Ourselves. No additional compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**

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