Enjoyed this book because it was spoken in the first person, that of a woman who is probably now in her 70's remembering her childhood and growing up years in a place that no longer exists and that was flooded for a dam. Her vivid memories of her family are like the valley washed away of places, and people that were very dear to her. She is a survivor and a strong one but we see the fragility of life in all the characters she remembers from her Mother, her Aunt, her Brothers, her lovers and her friends. Each character is an extension of herself.
Miller's Valley entertaining and satisfying despite the incongruity of the ending
Mary Margaret Miller is a young girl growing up on a farm in Miller's Valley, a small community in rural America in the 1960's.
There's nothing unusual about her family or her life: she has two older brothers - one's away at college, the other is a lovable rogue, her father works the farm, her mother is a nurse at the local hospital, an aunt lives in a small cottage on the farm.
The only thing that makes Miller's Valley different from thousands of similar rural hamlets is the government has plans to raise a nearby dam and flood the valley displacing the few families who live there.
This a theme that runs throughout the book looming over the lives of the Miller family though never really effecting them since there is no set timeline for the flooding.
Through the point of view of Mary Margaret the reader comes to know a loving and, more or less, functioning family, their friends and neighbours living in middle America during this period.
Quindlen is such a fine writer I was immediately drawn in. Her gift is that she makes the reader feel like they know, have known, or know someone just like her characters. Her prose is so seamless you don't realize you're reading a book - more like experiencing it.
Unlike some of Quindlen's work that can leave you with PTSD (Every Last One, One True Thing, Black and Blue) nothing really dramatic happens in Miller's Valley. There's regular love, life and death but it's not agonizing, unimaginably violent or pathologically cruel. It's just your run of the mill stuff - strokes, abortions, infidelity, drug abuse - but it's balanced with love and real caring.
Sound boring? It's not. Every time I sat down to read it was like catching up with a friend.
I had no idea how Miller's Valley would end and apparently neither did the author, because what she implies in the last few pages is incongruous to the story that has come before. I simply could not believe it.
Despite the rather bizarre ending, Miller's Valley is a satisfying and entertaining read.
I have always loved Anna Quindlen and she did not disappoint with Miller's Valley. The characters were real, the sense of place was appealing and the story was engaging. Though the community is threatened, the overall tone is hopeful and resilient.
I have always admired Quindlen's writing, especially her early work in journalism. Some of her novels speak to me more than others, but never are they a disappointment. "Miller's Valley" moves very slowly at first, but had my full attention by the middle of the book. The wounded brother and the troubled aunt are particularly well drawn and totally believable.
I loved this book. Very interesting story about the government wanting to flood a valley which will cover up the whole town of Millers Valley. Good ending.
Sometimes a place defines who you are as a person. Miller's Valley does that for our main character Mimi Miller. Mimi grows up in Miller's Valley, which is doomed to become a reservoir through relentless government planning. It's a rare treat to read about a character and her family and feel like you know them as you follow them throughout their lives. Mimi is someone I'd like to know and I've certainly known families similar to hers in my own life, although not in the same circumstances. Although it was a slow start, at about 50 pages in, the story totally grabbed me and I enjoyed every moment.
Millers Valley, government wants to build a dam for flood control. Lake will cover the whole valley. Very detailed story about the Miller family.
This is the first title I have read by Anna Quindlin. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters were well developed and believable. I liked how the story was told by Mimi, starting out as a young person and growing into an adult. The themes of family, relationships and the dealing with change are at the forefront of this beautifully crafted novel.
Mimi Miller will be the last Miller to live in Miller’s Valley. Readers will hear Mimi tell her story beginning in the 1960s to the current time. It’s a coming- of age story, but also a story of a place. Miller’s Valley is slated to become a flood prevention project that creates a recreational lake, meaning the Miller’s family farm will be under the waters.
Quindlen writes with grace and wit. If you grew up in a rural community in the 1960s, this could be your story. Living for a time in Riley County, KS, we heard stories of lost communities that were submerged under Tuttle Creek Lake. So, this book resonated to me on two fonts.
Pleasantly surprised by my first Anna Quindlen read. Characters are well developed and relatable.
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