Sunday, January 04, 2009

Run by Ann Patchett

I read the novel Run by Ann Patchett last week and cried relentlessly at the happy ending. Patchett has an awesome way with words in which nothing is wasted. The pages fly by and I kept wanting to learn more, know more, find out the secrets, get to know the characters more.

I first encountered Patchett when I read Bel Canto a few years ago. That was an awesome experience. I loved so much about it and my book group passed the novel among us, each enjoying it for different reasons.

Run takes place in Boston and centers around a political family not unlike the Kennedys. Bernard Doyle, the former mayor of Boston, white an Catholic, dreams that one of his three sons will follow in his footsteps. Unsurprisingly, none of the boys are headed on that path. The oldest son, Sullivan, is the outcast, having caused a scandal that brought his father's political career to an end. The two younger sons, African-American boys adopted a year apart, have other career goals. Tip is fascinated by fish and studies ichthyology, Teddy considers the seminary.

The book begins with a car crash. The younger boys have reluctantly joined their father at a speech by Jesse Jackson. As they argue about whether to attend a reception, Tip turns away in anger and is saved from being hit by a car by a complete stranger, an African American woman, who pushes him out of the way and takes the full blow of the oncoming truck.

It turns out that the "stranger" is, in fact, the birth mother of Teddy and Tip and the rest of the book takes up the unraveling of secret upon secret.

I highly recommend this book. Being part of an adoptive family, I'm sure I reacted to this book more strongly than most people. Like I said. Cried. Uncontrollably. For a good while.