Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Review: Miller's Valley

Miller's ValleyAuthor: Anna Quindlen
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Random House

A novel about family and the secrets that we keep—a young woman learning to love and leave home and realizing that, maybe, she never quite left. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Still Life with Bread Crumbs and Rise and Shine.

This story begins in the 1960s, and explores how Mimi Miller comes of age, over and over again.

As a young girl in Miller’s Valley, an ordinary farming town that may be facing its final days, Mimi is observing adults, selling corn, growing up and changing, and watching the world around her change, too.

As the years go by, the unthinkable starts to seem inevitable. Anna Quindlen’s novel takes us through the changing eras of Mimi and her family, as secrets are revealed, and the heartbreaks of growing up and falling in love with the wrong man are overcome.

A deeply moving, inspiring story of a young woman learning to love and leave, the place and family from which she comes.

My mother said if I shaved my legs before I turned sixteen I’d be cleaning the bathroom on Saturday for the rest of my life. We only had one bathroom but I wasn’t taking any chances.

I’ll remember that date for the rest of my life: August 21, 1966, the day Donald’s grandmother died and the day my brother Tommy enlisted in the Marines.

They called that Miller’s Creek because years ago it had been just a narrow little run of water, but once the dam went in it turned into something much bigger than that. I’d spent a lot of time around creeks when I was younger, looking for minnows and crayfish, and that was no creek. 
Miller’s Valley was different for me. A wonderful literary piece that will stay with me for months to come. The book comes in at just under 300 pages and is an easy 1 or 2 sitting read. Mimi Miller is the narrator of this wonderfully endearing story. Mimi does a wonderful job of allowing readers to feel a sense of belonging within her family. The characters feel more real than most; you will find yourself attached to them and missing them when the story is done. There is just enough drama, and humor, to make the characters feel like people you have known all of your life. The town is small and everyone knows everyone’s business. Gossip is rampant and neighbors stick together; well, most of the time!

The setting is, of course, a small town in the 1960’s. I immediately latched on to the town and the people in it. The time period was easy to pick up from so many descriptions and the way of life. Mimi’s family is a farming family and they depend on the land solely for their resources. I can relate so much with this story. I didn’t grow up on a farm but many of my friends did. I did, however, grow up in a very small town just like Mimi’s. Many of descriptions and anecdotes really hit home with me. Quindlen’s writing is very down to earth and feels like a pleasant conversation. This was my first book by Anna Quindlen, but after reading many reviews, I have decided to look into purchasing some more!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Random House in exchange for my honest review*** 

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