Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill CleggDid You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg

Did You Ever Have A Family

byBill Clegg

Paperback | May 17, 2016

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD, MAN BOOKER PRIZE, PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE, AND ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE • AN ALA NOTABLE BOOK • Library Journal • Booklist • NPR • Kirkus Reviews • Guardian • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Literary Hub • Powell’s • Indie Next List

Hailed as “masterly” by The New York Times Book Review, “a brilliantly constructed debut set in the aftermath of catastrophic loss” (2015 Man Booker Prize Judges).

The stunning debut novel from bestselling author Bill Clegg is a magnificently powerful story about a circle of people who find solace in the least likely of places as they cope with a horrific tragedy.

On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s life is upended when a shocking disaster takes the lives of her daughter, her daughter’s fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke—her entire family, all gone in a moment. June is the only survivor.

Alone and directionless, June drives across the country, away from her small Connecticut town. In her wake, a community emerges, weaving a beautiful and surprising web of connections through shared heartbreak.

From the couple running a motel on the Pacific Ocean where June eventually settles into a quiet half-life, to the wedding’s caterer whose bill has been forgotten, to Luke’s mother, the shattered outcast of the town—everyone touched by the tragedy is changed as truths about their near and far histories finally come to light.

Elegant and heartrending, and one of the most accomplished fiction debuts of the year, Did You Ever Have a Family is an absorbing, unforgettable tale that reveals humanity at its best through forgiveness and hope. At its core is a celebration of family—the ones we are born with and the ones we create.
Title:Did You Ever Have A FamilyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.25 × 5.31 × 0.8 inPublished:May 17, 2016Publisher:Gallery/Scout PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1476798184

ISBN - 13:9781476798189

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sad but beautiful story I loved this book. The novel was told from the perspective of multiple people, many of whom were experiencing different losses. Heartbreaking but beautiful story.
Date published: 2017-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Painful Read in a Good Way! What a fabulous, tragic read about loss ... and not just "one type of loss". I would have liked if some of the characters on the fringe were a bit more in depth/developed ... but I think that also gave this book some of it's charm. Anyone who has suffered a loss will appreciate this and if you've been blessed enough to NOT have suffered a loss I think you'll still enjoy the read. Buckle Up!
Date published: 2017-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but somewhat underdeveloped The book was an enjoyable, easy read. I did think that some aspects of the storyline deserved some more development (i.e some of the characters had interesting stories that could have had more detail). Still, overall a good book if you're interested in feeling some feelings.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Did You Ever Have a Family? In the blink of an eye, June Reid's family is killed in a gas explosion on the night before her daughter's wedding (not a spoiler - the event takes place in the first pages of this novel). The book explores the effect of this tragedy on a number of people who are impacted by it. Each chapter is told by a different voice - what they knew, how they coped and how they were affected. Overall, this is an engrossing story. For the most part, the author fleshes out the characters. We learn how their own loves and losses coloured their response to the tragedy. Occasionally I was a little confused by the relationships and had to look back to get a good idea of who some of the characters were, but they came together in the end to make this an absorbing read.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Story of Loss On the eve of her daughter's wedding June suddenly loses all her family. She is left completely numb. Without any thought she heads out of town on a road trip to an unknown destination. On her travels she contemplates her relationships with all those she has lost. Although, June has lost the most there are others that have lost loved ones as well and are grieving. There's someone else with a guilty conscious about the tragedy too.
Date published: 2015-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Author, and a New Publishing Imprint, to Watch I loved this book. Put simply, Bill Clegg's Did You Ever Have a Family follows the fallout from a house fire the night before June's daughter's wedding, in which the daughter and her fiance, June's ex-husband, and her current lover Luke all died, leaving both June and Luke's mother Lydia bereft of any family. Although, as would be expected, most of the chapters follow June and Lydia as they try to cope with not only their losses, but also the past choices which led them to that point, we also get to hear from such tangential characters as the wedding florist and caterer, and it is Clegg's ability to give even minor characters their own distinctive voices which makes the book shine. Listen to the first words out of the florist's mouth: "They wanted daisies in jelly jars. Local daisies in fifty or so jelly jars they’d collected after they were engaged. Seemed childish to me, especially since June Reid wasn’t exactly putting her daughter’s wedding together on a shoestring. But who was I to have an opinion? Putting daisies in jelly jars is hardly high-level flower arranging, more like monkey work if you want to know the truth. Still, work is work, and the flower business around here is thin, so you take what you can get." Her bitterness oozes through the gossip she shares about June, Luke, and Lydia, but even she has her redeeming moment: "The daisies did not go to waste. Every single one was put to use. They never did see the inside of any jelly jars, but they found their way into a hundred or more funeral arrangements. Even when no one asked for them—and let’s face it, most did not—I still found a way to make them work. No one ever accused me of being a soft touch, but when something like what happened at June Reid’s that morning happens, you feel right away like the smallest, weakest person in the world. That nothing you do could possibly matter. That nothing matters. Which is why, when you stumble upon something you can do, you do it. So that’s what I did." Did You Ever Have a Family is not just a family drama, however; there is an intriguing mystery surrounding the cause of the fatal fire, the resolution of which is both surprising and, in hindsight, inexorable. Clegg's theme of the unanticipated consequences of personal choices is organic throughout; none of the developments feels forced, and the elegiac tone at the end is perfect. Be prepared to laugh; be prepared to cry; but above all, be prepared to celebrate Clegg's move from memoir to fiction. Scout Press could not have made a better selection for its lead title, and I can't wait to see more from both this author and this imprint. I received a free copy of Did You Ever Have a Family through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2015-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sorrowful I could not imagine the depth of their loss, her loss and through this story I felt like I did. I felt so up close and personal, just heart wrenching. Three days after finishing, these characters are still with me. Moving.
Date published: 2015-09-29

Editorial Reviews

[Did You Ever Have A] Family melds several grieving voices into a detailed mosaic of a town split between locals and weekenders, a mystery in which the stakes really matter, and a recovery story more original than Clegg’s own.”