Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Theory of All Things - Peggy Leon

This is the second book I reviewed for the Saroyan Prize.  It's the story of the tragic Bennett family - sent in varied directions after the suicide of one of their brothers and abandonment by their mother.  As their aging father sucuumbs to Alzheimer's, each child tells their own story, and that of their family, in their own words.  The five remaining siblings range from the brilliant, but socially inept Mark, to the practical sister who stays home to care for their father, to the free-spirited hippie who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant.  While I appreciated the family aspect of this book, there were a bit too many moving pieces for me to really enjoy.  Focusing on three siblings might have made for a better story.  And, at times, it just seemed like too many bad things were happening to all these people.  Leon is experimental in her narrative - telling portions of the story through emails among the siblings.  An interesting portrait of a family, but disjointed at times.

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