Back view of woman's head showing a french braid

“French Braid” by Anne Tyler

Pleasant, but doesn’t live up to the hype

I was pretty excited to get Anne Tyler’s new novel, French Braid, in e-book form from the library pretty easily…and this is one I definitely recommend you get from the library. It’s a fairly quick read, and well written. I’m not a fan of this style though…it’s a series of dips into “key points” into the lives of an extended family, but Tyler kind of rips us off by not giving us a chance to really get to know any of the characters. I felt there is no payoff for the set up in this book.

The whole point of the book is the reasons why families splinter and fray. I don’t know…I’m kind of sad about having distance from various members of my extended family, for one reason or another, and I’m just not that interested in the concept.

Now, if you could tell me how I can be myself yet still be close with my extended family…that’s worth reading about. French Braid? Eh.

French Braid in Baltimore

French Braid is set in Baltimore, MD. My favorite section of the book is the first, that centers on a visit to Deep Creek Lake, a resort in Maryland. I went to college with a lot of people from Northern Virginia (James Madison University: Go Dukes!). I used to wear my old letter jacket occaisonally, and I was frequently asked if I were from Deep Creek Lake because I went to Deep Creek High School. They are nowhere near each other, but that’s why I had heard of it.

If you are from Maryland yourself, you might find some points of interest.