A Spool of Blue Thread

A Spool of Blue Thread

Book - 2016
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"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon. . . . " This is how Abby Whitshank always describes the day she fell in love with Red in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate an indefinable kind of specialness, but like all families, their stories reveal only part of the picture: Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. From Red's parents, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to the grandchildren carrying the Whitshank legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn house that has always been their anchor."--Back cover.
Publisher: New York :, Ballantine Books,, 2016.
Edition: Trade paperback edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780553394399
0553394398
Branch Call Number: FIC TYLE
Characteristics: 371 pages ; 21 cm

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TSCPL_Miranda Oct 28, 2019

I really enjoyed reading this book up until the last 15% or so, but I wasn't really happy with how it ended. After I rated it 3 stars, though, I started thinking about some of the quotes that I bookmarked, and how cinematic the story was in my head as I read, and I couldn't quite rate it that low. 3.5. I probably would not reread, but don't regret the read, either.

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wandaymills
Mar 29, 2019

This novel was very disappointing, going back and forth on history and current events. So mind boggling. I would not recommend this anyone. YUK

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Havanacat
Dec 23, 2018

Prose. A poignant saga all about the full emotional range that we experience as part of a family.
Need to read.

v
vkreads
Aug 04, 2018

I lost interest ...read up to about pg 75, ...so, closed it and returned to the library.

DBRL_IdaF Apr 12, 2018

Nobody captures the nuances of family relationships like Anne Tyler.

Red and Abby Whitshank have raised four children in the Baltimore family home built by Red's father. Red also runs the construction company started by his father.

When Red begins to experience trouble with his heart, and Abby develops trouble with her memory, their grown children must make decisions about how best to help. Long-suppressed secrets and rivalries are finally faced as the family copes (not all that well) with the situation.

Tyler does a fabulous job balancing serious issues with the humor of everyday life, while portraying human beings in all of their complicated glory.

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writermala
Sep 25, 2017

The reference to the title comes at the very end of the book but it is clear what it stands for. The book deals with three generations of Whitshanks and their lives and the upheavals they go through. It starts with Abby and Red and the challenges they face as they age. it is nice to see their family responding and yet the problems ensuing are ones that we can all relate to. The time switching from one era to another makes for interesting reading. The characters in the book are very well sketched. as are the descriptions of the locales.

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DorisWaggoner
Jul 31, 2017

Anne Tyler's "Spool of Blue Thread" shouldn't be a page turner, since it's "just" a story of three generations of a family fairly calmly living their lives. Yet I read it in one sitting and mostly loved it. Tyler has a wonderful knack of describing places and people, so that you know you've been there, and know what's coming next, and who these people are. I should have been confused by the time switching, but wasn't. The opening scene, when the middle generation is in middle age, is both heartbreaking and hilarious. It tells us a lot about the child who calls to drop a verbal bomb and then hangs up, and about how each parent reacts. This generation loves each other full-heartedly, but they can fight with each other and easily make up. They have two sons (one informally adopted) and two daughters. Abby, the mother, secretly loves Denny, her youngest, the best, even while his teachers are always calling her, and later when they go months without knowing where he is or what he's up to. Red, the father, runs a construction company he inherited from his father, Junior, who always has to explain there's no Senior. Stem, the adopted youngest, works with Red, and everyone assumes he'll inherit the business. The book moves back and forth in time, to Junior and his wife Linnie Mae, ending with the enigmatic Denny. This is perhaps the third of Tyler's books I've read, and so far it's my favorite. Nobody in it's perfect (except Stem's beautiful, boring wife Nora ), but all are interesting. Reading this is like eavesdropping on your most interesting neighbors.

basilbrynn1 May 08, 2017

Story about a family with the usual ups and downs. Accurately portrayed characters but lost interest 2 thirds of the way in.

a
AlteredStaite
Apr 19, 2017

I liked this book. I didn't like most of the characters but then I don't think the writer did either.
She did throw in one with whom I could associate and I do thank her for that.

I've known and heard of families like the Whitshanks....one of my children married into one once. Thank god I wasn't usually invited to the gatherings.

I like Anne Tyler's writing. Sometimes one just needs a gently moving family story without murder and mahem and guns and goblins

b
becker
Sep 08, 2016

This is a completely character driven book. If you are someone who wants some action in your reading, this book may not be for you. If you are someone who appreciates well developed characters, then place your hold now. This is a very nice story that unfolds gently through the everyday comings and goings of the Whitshank family. I became quite attached to this family by the end of the book. A very comforting read.

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rebmartin31
Jun 02, 2016

"'There is no such things as 'too understanding'."

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