Sorry to have been incommunicado these last few, folks. I've just returned from a beachy keen vacation! Today I'm a stop on the TLC tour for Elizabeth Crane's debut, We Only Know So Much.
The Copelands are your average family, each going through a bit of a tough moment at present. Jean and Gordon have a loveless marriage, a teenage daughter whose ultimate goal is to get on tv, and a nine-year-old son who can be a bit odd (but is otherwise the most seemingly stable Copeland). They live in Gordon's grandmother's home, with said grandmother, Vivian, and Gordon's father, Theodore. Oh, and Jean's lover's dog - but no one knows that part.
I found this line from the second chapter to be quite entertaining (and a good nutshell synopsis of the Copelands themselves):
"Review: difficult daughter, know-it-all dad, son sweet and okay if a little weird, mom delayed potential/having affair, great grandmother bitchy, grandfather losing it. So we know where we're starting."
While I had a tough time actually liking any of Crane's characters, her writing style is immensely enjoyable. Snarky is the best way to describe it, as you may notice from the quote above. I also enjoyed her use of an outside "observer" as a narrator. It added an interesting element to the story and a great unbiased look at each of the characters. Of course it could also be argued that had one character in particular been the narrator, it may have been easier to like one of them (my pick would have been Otis or Theodore).
While We Only Know So Much isn't a favorite read of mine of late, I will say that I ended up liking it more than I'd expected at the outset. It is difficult to enjoy a book with characters you can't connect with - with some exceptions. Crane's got a great voice though and I'd love to check out her short story collections (I'm a bit of an evangelist for a great short story collection and I think her style is probably right up my alley).
For more on Elizabeth Crane, you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
For the complete tour schedule and stop links, visit the official TLC tour page for We Only Know So Much here.