Friday, June 24, 2011

RRR: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

I am going to try to start blogging again, though I was never a faithful blogger. Perhaps I will be better now. In my state of new and in between (newlywed, in between jobs), I will hopefully catch up with reflections on recent readings.

I finished reading my first Anne Tyler novel last week and wrote this brief reflection. Please be warned that this may contain spoilers.

Tyler paints reality with her words and characters, telling of a single-mother and her three children seeking unconditional acceptance and a true home. The wounds of childhood affect each of the three siblings in different ways as they grow older. Jealous Cody, though he has everything he ever wanted he still imagines that his younger brother, Ezra, has bested him. Because Ezra was his mother's favorite, at least in Cody's eyes. Ezra spends his life comforting those around him, but can not bring peace to his own family. Jenny, the youngest, labored through childhood, med school, and three marriages; she has adapted by covering worry with laughter.

The story is saddening in its gritty reality. The mistaken choices, the selfishness of the characters, the tragedy of abandonment. The grudges held onto and flash moments of stress and anger that shape lives and relationships. The struggles of not knowing how to love. The constant striving to remove or hide vulnerability.

Yet it's loving – capturing the motivations and fears, positive and negative that shape the lives of a single mother and her children as they seek a secure future, all carrying splinters and seeds of home with them. And it's a story of triumph. Despite hurts from a domineering mother and absent father, all three children grow up and succeed, if they can let themselves realize it. And they do, after the matriarch's funeral and in her memory, finally, sit down for an entire meal together in Ezra's “Homesick Restaurant.”

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