Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Go Ask Fannie

Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde
Penguin Publishing Group: 4/10/18
eBook review copy; 304 pages
ISBN-13: 9780735218567

Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde is a highly recommended family drama.

Murray Blaire, 81, has invited his three surviving adult children to his New Hampshire farm for the weekend. Ruth, the oldest, is a wealthy lawyer who lives with her husband and two sons in Washington D.C. Ruth likes order, control, and plans in place to cover all contingencies. George, the middle sibling, is a nurse and marathon runner who lives a couple hours away from his father  in Concord. Lizzie, the youngest, is an English Professor at a college near her father. 

Murray's only hope for the weekend is to have Ruth and George talk Lizzie in to breaking up with her much older married boyfriend. Ruth, naturally, has her own list of things she wants to cover, especially looking at assisted living facilities for their father. George, who is always squabbling with Ruth, is trying unsuccessfully to not quarrel with her. Lizzie, however, arrives with news that changes her father's plans. She broke up with her boyfriend, but when she was picking up their mother's Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which she left at his house, she discovered that he had dropped the book into a sink of water and damaged it. Her reaction may result in criminal charges against her.

As with any family drama much of the action also concerns the past. Lillian, wife and mother of the group, and sibling, David, died over 30 years ago.  A good portion of the novel involves what happened years ago, when they were a family of six, not four. There are secrets and questions about that time that have never been shared or asked, and the full story was really never told. Many present day resentments and attitudes toward each other all stem back to that time, when they lost their mother and brother.

Go Ask Fannie is a straightforward, well-written novel. Hyde also allows us insight into the inner thoughts of her characters. The narrative follows these characters during a weekend while uncovering the story of the past and what happened years ago. The past helps explain why they react the way they do and why they all relate to each other in the predictable way they do today.  This is not a story with dark secrets or shocking twists, but it is a compelling family drama.  

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Publishing Group.

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