How can you resist a novel that, in the first page, references Newfoundland puppies as "silky black sacks of fur pressing their big heavy heads against my cheek"? The cheek belongs to 11 year old Daley, daughter of a charming functioning alcoholic father whose behavior escalates from rowdy to raunchy including reading letters from the Penthouse Forums to the kids during family vacations. Daley's narrative then jumps to her late 20s when she gives up a promising academic position to return home and care for her father who hit (or not) bottom and finds her married with children at the book's conclusion.
The story is told through keen observation and fluid, often poetic language. Add the complex characters and it's everything I like, which is why it's strange I took so long to finish and write about it. Maybe, like Daley, I needed occasional respite from a broken situation with no easy solutions.
Find it at the Library