Fiction, literary fiction

Book Review: We Are The Brennans by Tracey Lange

Sunday Brennan is a 29 year old woman living in Los Angeles, California. 5 years ago, she up and left her family and boyfriend, Kale – who is practically a member of the Brennan family – without an explanation. One day, she wakes up and finds herself in a hospital, banged up pretty bad. She drank too much and got into an accident. Her emergency contact is her brother, Denny Brennan, the oldest child of the Brennan clan. He is back in New York with the rest of her family. Denny flies in to California and convinces Sunday to come back to New York to recuperate.

Sunday tries to get into a routine at home. Denny is planning to open a second bar with his best friend and Sunday’s former flame, Kale. Speaking of Kale, he is now married to Vivienne and they have a 4 year old son. As time passes and the unanswered question of why she left lingers among her siblings and Kale, secrets from the past resurfaces and collide with secrets from the present.

I love family dramas. They usually come with large families that are almost always dysfunctional so I was looking forward to this. It did not disappoint but I felt it was just okay. Despite having a long list of characters, Lange does a good job with writing and weaving their stories together. Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective but each chapter begins with the last sentence from the previous chapter and I just thought that was such a pretty cool writing party trick because that had to be very difficult to do.

Slow build ups can be exhausting because you are just like “can we just get to it?!” This wasn’t an exception but it was not as annoying as it usually is because I actually enjoyed getting to learn about the Brennans starting from their parents coming from Ireland and building a life in America. Also, the family had so many secrets that it was like finding easter eggs along the way and being like “oooh, well that happened”

I think at a certain point, especially after a number of reveals, it was time for the book to be wrapped up but it didn’t wrap up when it should have. I hope this makes sense but as much as many things happened to the Brennans and the secrets they held, they felt like…boring people. Like, who were they besides the hand life dealt them. After learning about Sunday, her getting drunk and getting into an accident didn’t gel with what we had learned about her as a person.

I described this book as just okay earlier but it got a lot of hype in the book world. I think it’s definitely a mood read. It’s an easy read and with the good writing, it goes down easy.


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