Families are complicated Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread reminds the reader just how complicated and turbulent a family can really be. The Whitshanks’ story led by Abby and Red begins in 1959. The book opens in 1994 but moves between the 1920s, 1940s and back to the 50s in a non-chronological manner. The Whitshanks have four children and a history of the family Baltimore home that Red’s father Junior built. Each character views the home differently, from deference to burden. Denny is the black sheep of the family and comes and goes in the family in an unpredictable manner. When Stem and his family move into the family home to help the parents out, a host of stories, emotions and secrets begin to rise to the top. The reader learns more about Junior and Linnie (the grandparents) and each of the children.
Anne Tyler builds a story of characters that the reader will be interested in. Details are delivered through conversations between characters, so the reader must pay attention. But through the storytelling, the reader will begin to care for each character, see themselves in several of the characters and be interested to find out more about what makes the Whitshanks’ family tick, as well as their own family too.
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