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Booked for the Day

Our Discussion of The Dutch House

Our group thoroughly enjoyed reading The Dutch House, primarily due to the authenticity of the characters and how they were presented in oblique and interesting ways throughout this fiction novel. The story is told from the point of view of Danny, the brother, who discusses his sister, Maeve, as well as the other characters. Ms. Patchett has an uncanny ability to outline the characters' relationships to each other and to the environment/setting in which her novels take place. 

The author also includes normal, everyday tasks, such as eating and cooking woven into the storyline, which is mostly written in the present tense but then moves back in time for Danny to talk about his and Maeve's Mom who left them unexpectedly when they were young. Each character presented in the book seems to have a different knowledge of the past and each one often views the same situations very differently.

Several group members were unhappy with the ending of having Danny's daughter, May, purchase the Dutch House and becoming famous. Each of the characters were portrayed well through insightful moments, and they each seemingly lost something although the themes surrounding wealth and poverty were thoughtfully presented. Also, the Dutch House presented the stability of home for Danny and Maeve as evidenced by them almost obsessing over it by parking in the street often to view the structure. Their "home" became the road in front of the house, almost as Danny and Maeve attempted to rewind the movie of their lives.

One member praised the audiobook version since it is narrated by Tom Hanks, prominent Hollywood actor. Another also mentioned that she read interviews with the author in which there was a sense, from the interviewer’s point of view, that the book was created to celebrate wealth and that nothing could be better than being rich. This is far from the truth since members who have read other books by Ms. Patchett praised her writing, content, and storytelling as noteworthy without any hidden agendas. 

Our group rated The Dutch House as the highest median rating of 5 for how much they enjoyed this book and also the same highest 5 rating for how willing they are to recommend this book to others. The themes selected for this book are Family, Setting, Female, Heritage, Coming of Age, Medical, Aging, and Relationships. 

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