This book is about a dysfunctional American family in the 21st century: a traditional detached father with old fashioned values, a traditional mother, and three kids (and grandkids) that represent the generational differences and gaps in attitudes and values.
For the tone of the book, it is very baroque? Very rich and explicit when describing inner thoughts, which facilitate the understanding of the characters; however some were too much. As for the evolution of the book, it starts of rather slow and hard to get through, and gets easier and more interesting towards the end, with a strong finale.
I liked the characters of the book, because I think they are the ultimate representation of not only American family but all modern families, esp. with the gap in values between generations. Alfred Lambert is the typical patriarch in the family with the calls, being emotionally cold in the outside, with few words, needing his own space. Enid Lambert, the mom, is in turn the emotionally affectionate one towards the whole family, with her never-exhausting enthusiasm and optimism. They have raised 3 seemingly successful kids: Gary, with an MBA, a good job in banking and a wife and 3 kids of his own; Chip, a highschool teacher and screenwriter; and Denice, a professional chef in the new hottest restaurant in town.
However at a close look, each one of them (including the parents) is only human: they have their faults and their dreams, and they are all awaiting for happiness.
The book carries the reader through all stages in life, even until the end when Alfred passes away. I gain the most during these last chapters, because it seems like a window to better understand our parents and life.
No conclusion or verdict for the book, just that it’s a ‘book for thought’ for me.
PS. I hope I can have a Christmas (or CNY) in Costa Rica or wherever with a family reunion of our own as well:)