The News from the End of the World, by Emily Jeanne Miller (2017)

The News from the End of the World, by Emily Jeanne MillerThis is a stew of a family drama, and all the ingredients are there – sibling rivalry, teenaged drama, second marriages and flirty temptations. But it’s missing a little spice, resulting in a weeknight dinner offering rather than anything special. Forty-two-year-old Vance Lake is an adjunct prof who finds himself both homeless and jobless when he does something stupid at work. With no place to go, he lands on his twin brother’s doorstep in the middle of the night, unaware that Craig and Gina are coping poorly with their own family crisis. Daughter Amanda is home unexpectedly from South America, where she was sent in some strange kind of “punishment” for being caught with a joint in her senior year. Turns out she is pregnant, a big problem since she is just 17. Dad Craig is devastated, and it’s raising painful memories of Andrea’s own mother Suzanne, who died in a diving accident 10 years ago. He’s now married to Gina, who just gave birth to their second child. She is feeling less than attractive for the first time in her life, and is unable to resist when a family friend makes at pass at her. Author Miller alternates each character’s perspective, including that of seven-year-old Helen. Set over just four days in Cape Cod, the book offers a frank discussion of abortion but to be perfectly honest, it seems to me that all of these very white-bread people deserve their batch of troubles. It’s not that they are unlikable, but rather that they all seem quite immature. There’s no spark of life in any of them, no sense of joy or delight in life, and ultimately no reason for me to enjoy getting to know them. Kirkus described it as an “earnest” domestic drama, and that sums it up nicely. It’s not particularly awful; I just think there are better dramas out there. My thanks to publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the advance reading copy provided in exchange for my honest review.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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