The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

While a good part of the focus of this book is an unusually large luxurious house, it is really about a family and closely related peoople, including some servants, who have been occupants of this house. It is also about a situation where a mother of two young children abandons them by leaving the husband and the children who have no idea what happened to her. It is a story about the relatioship between a sister and brother who once abandoned by their mother found that they could not tolerate the mean unfair treatment by the women who came into their lives as their stepmother along with her two daughters.

The plot of ths book has some interesting twists and turns as when brother and sister are grown adults, their true mother reappears and attempts to reestablish a relationship with them. Among the uniqueness of the characters is the fact that the young boy becomes a non-practicing physician who prefers to invest in real estate and spends lots of times personally fixing up his properties.

Certainly, the story is fairly unique and has surprising twists and turns. However, I didn’t feel that it fully explained or gave enough clues for us to understand or even speculate on the psychodynamics of the characters. In other words, I did not find the long ride of reading this book to be enlightening or satisfying enough for me to recommend it. Obviously, I am in the minority as the book was a NY Times Best Seller and was on Time Magazine’s 100 Must Read Books and was named on the The Best Books of the Year by NPR.

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