Happy Family

Tracy Barone. Little, Brown/Boudreaux, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-34260-5
Barone’s debut novel explores the pursuit of human connection with pathos and humor. A baby girl, born and abandoned in 1962 in Trenton, N.J., impacts multiple families in the community. Forty years later, that baby, Cheri Matzner, is still searching for a sense of belonging. She never felt completely understood by her adoptive parents, and as an adult she attempted to find refuge in both her marriage and her career. But now she has trouble connecting to her husband, an aging filmmaker who hasn’t had much success since his first documentary, Disco, Doughnuts, and Dogma, and her career has also fallen short of her expectations—first as a cop on New York City’s Lower East Side and then in Chicago as a professor of ancient civilizations. With her future uncertain, Cheri mines her past for answers, uncovering family secrets along the way. As she learns more about her history, she begins to better understand those around her. The narrative, like the path Cheri takes on her quest for self-discovery, is long and meandering. Though the supporting characters are underdeveloped, Cheri is a compelling protagonist, making her journey into the past well worth following. Agent: Susan Golomb, Writers House. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 05/24/2016
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-0516-5
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-316-34259-9
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-316-34258-2
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