Monday, May 9, 2022

Book Review: 'Ordinary People' by Judith Guest

✰✰✰✰✰ Cal and Beth Jarrett are the All-American dream couple. With successful careers and two outstanding teen sons, the Jarretts are comfortable in their lives. Unfortunately, life can change in an instant. After a tragedy leaves the family with only one son, the Jarretts must learn to move forward, but how? The loss of their oldest, Buck, is too much for them to process as each turns inwards. 

Without the support and attention of his parents, Conrad, the remaining son, attempts to take his life. The aftermath of this second tragedy is an even bigger struggle for Cal and Beth as they continue to deal with the loss of Buck. As Conrad returns to high school and tries to navigate his classes, Cal & Beth are at odds with how to help. Will they be able to find the support they need to heal as a family or will the aftermath of tragedy be too much for the Jarretts? Whether you are reading this book for the first time or the tenth time, the ending will haunt you.

The Bottom Line: Although first published in 1976, this novel still deserves a place on your bookshelf. It's a quick read that immediately connects and stays with the reader. Guest has an innate understanding of the internal dialogue people experience when faced with personal loss, grief, and depression. Each character expresses their grief differently, and Guest did a superb job tackling a tough subject. Highly recommended for teen, new adult, and adult readers. This novel would be perfect for discussion groups. Additionally, this book was made into a movie with a stellar cast you won't want to miss.

Details: Ordinary People by Judith Guest. Paperback published by Penguin Books in 1982. 272 p. ISBN: 0-14-006517-2 

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