In The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac (Algonquin, Mar.), Kris D’Agostino has written a dysfunctional family classic that removes the melodrama found too often in the genre. The story of the Morettis’ triumphs and tragedies has a raw, visceral style that leaves the reader shaken and changed. Seldom does a book paint such a bleak picture of modern American home life while having, at its core, a warm and caring heart and soul. Just as Calvin Moretti was changed by his family’s trials and tribulations, this Almanac will affect readers in unexpected ways. D’Agostino’s writing and the main character spoke to me on levels I have not felt in a long time, and I think both will propel this book to heights rarely seen from a first-time novelist. D’Agostino speaks with such emotion and honesty that it will be impossible for readers, especially those of the younger generation, not to see parts of themselves in Calvin and to remember our inherent ability to change ourselves, no matter how small those changes may be.
Volume 259 Issue 10 03/05/2012