Synopsis and Details:
The Mothers meets An American Marriage in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you.
The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.
Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.
As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.
Genres: Contemporary, Literary Fiction | Release Date: February 19, 2019 | Publisher: Berkley | Pages: 304 | ISBN: 978-1984802439 | ASIN: B07D6C9L49 | Format: ARC | Source: Netgalley
Review with Rating:
Reading The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls was an insight into how a dysfunctional childhood affected the Butler family over the course of their lives. This book starts off towards the end of the trial for Althea, the oldest Butler girl, and it weaves a tale between the memories and circumstances of the Butler women. There is much to unpack in this story and as the layers are peeled back I was able to see the heart of these women. That is what made The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls a page turner! I wanted to know these women, to understand them, I wanted them to find what it was that they needed for happiness and contentment.
The story is told in the present as well as through recollections of the past. There are multiple narratives from the Butler sisters. Althea’s follows her time in jail, Lillian’s deals with her time with Althea’s children as they are in her care, and Viola’s deals with her life as it is falling apart. Proctor, Althea’s husband, also has a voice in this story but his point of view is told through letters to his wife. As each woman is trying to figure out how to deal with present day circumstances, Althea and Proctor’s situation being the center focus, they are also considering their past and how it could have factored into the catastrophe that they are all facing.
All the Butler women in this story were nicely fleshed out. They had depth and I felt that their personal struggles were real and realistically detailed. Part of this plot also deals with the daughters of Althea, Kim and Baby Vi, and how their parent’s situation affected them as well. I wish more care had been given to make me, as the reader, really hurt for them, to feel their pain and, for one of the girls, guilt and anger. Everything I know of the girls was because I was told but little was shown except through how the sisters felt about situations. I didn’t feel that much for the girls. They felt very one-dimensional to me and my “care” for them was because of empathy but not because I was invested in them as characters.
I had wanted more motivation behind what put Althea and her husband Proctor into jail. I was hoping for a twist of some kind or that the true motivation had been unselfish in nature and that Althea was acting the way she was towards her children and family because she was being strong for altruistic reasons. Instead, her motivation was quite common but it was interesting how issues from her childhood that were not dealt with played a part in her downfall as an adult. There is a lesson in that alone. Overall, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls was a touching story that is memorable and a wonderful debut novel. I will be looking for more from this Author in the future!
*Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group & NetGalley for this eARC of The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls*
This review is based on a complimentary book I received. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.