The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore

This is a great family story about family relationships and dynamics and especially about adult children and their parents.  Ginny and William are a happy couple in their early 60s with three grown children: Lillian, Stephen, and Rachel.  In a nutshell the story is about what happens when all three return home for one whole summer.  Lillian has a 3 year old and a newborn and has left her husband (but is reluctant to tell anyone), Stephen is married to Jane and they end up stranded their when Jane is put on bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy, and Rachel is single and, overwhelmed by a breakup and financial problems, has up and left the city (and her job.)  So clearly none of them is in their peak shape to start with.  They are all edgy and depressed and consumed with their own problems.  Not quite a happy family reunion.

The funny thing about this story is that I mostly related to the older couple Yes, Jane, it is completely rude to be looking at your phone constantly throughout dinner! And yes, Lillian, you should not just assume your mother wants to babysit your children all the time without you even asking!  But then there were other things, like William just completely overwhelmed by toys and things scattered about, that, from my 30something mom point of view, I thought he was silly.  Toys on the floor are part of life!  I thought Ginny had great insights into how when you’re raising your young family you’re just in the thick of it and it just is life and then somehow it changes until you find yourself in your 60s and relishing the tidy order of your house and actually enjoying doing laundry.

I really really disliked the character of Jane and thought she had very little redeeming about her. Also, she is a workaholic and apparently “big things are happening” at her company but whenever anyone asks she just says “it’s too complicated to explain.”  That was said a number of times and I thought it came across as the author couldn’t be bothered to think of a work story for her–it was all so deliberately vague.  It was also interesting that Stephen and Jane’s plans to have him be a stay at home father are absolutely shocking to everyone.  I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want Jane to stay at home with a baby because she really came across as a cold businesslike person.  (Frankly they didn’t seem like they should be having a baby at all.)

Anyway, I really liked it and it made me think a whole lot about my own life right now.

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